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Tunisia's ex-prime minister Hamadi Jebali released, says lawyer

Former Ennahda official was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, in allegations dismissed by opposition as 'settling political scores'
Ex prime minister Hamadi Jebali is pictured after submitting his candidacy for the early presidential elections in Tunisia's capital Tunis on 6 August 2019
Ex-prime minister Hamadi Jebali is pictured after submitting his candidacy for the early presidential elections in Tunisia's capital Tunis on 6 August 2019 (AFP)

Tunisia has released former prime minister Hamadi Jebali, after he was arrested four days ago on suspicion of money laundering.

A Tunisian judge released Jebali, who was prime minister from December 2011 to March 2013, on Monday evening, his lawyer Samir Dilou told Reuters. 

The former senior official in the Ennahda party, a key rival of President Kais Saied, was detained in relation to a transfer of large sums of money from overseas to a charity in Tunisia. 

Ennahda has dismissed the allegations and said the arrest was part of a campaign of settling political scores.

The party was the biggest in Tunisia's parliament before Saied dissolved the assembly and assumed executive powers last year, saying he could rule by decree.

He later extended his control over the judiciary and moved to change the constitution, in moves opponents have called a coup in the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings. 

Following his arrest last week, Jebali launched a hunger strike and was rushed to intensive care on Saturday, his lawyer said. 

Jebali is not the first senior Ennahdha figure to be detained since Saied's power grab - former justice minister Noureddine Bhiri was also held under house arrest for two months before being released without charge.