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Arabic press review: UAE behind attempts to destabilise Tunisia, says ex-president

Meanwhile, Lebanese police are accused of killing young Syrian refugee, and versions abound regarding death of a Saudi imam in custody
A child wades through rain and snow waters at an informal tent settlement housing Syrian refugees following winter storms in Lebanon, 17 January (AFP)

Former Tunisian president slams the UAE

Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki accused the United Arab Emirates of seeking to eradicate the post-revolution “Tunisian experiment”, while also blasting closer ties with Saudi Arabia during an interview with Tunisian news channel Hannibal, London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported.

"We reaffirm that we sense the existence of a conspiracy against Tunisia aiming to destabilise it, and the UAE operations room is behind it," Marzouki, who served as president between 2011 and 2014, said.

Marzouki also criticized current Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi for receiving Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in November, saying that it was "wrong".

Marzouki stressed that if he himself had been president of Tunisia then, he would not have received the Saudi prince, who is heavily suspected of being involved in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and other abuses of power.

Marzouki deemed that the ruling Ennahda party took a "wrong decision" when it decided to "cling to power ... because it was afraid".

Shortly after the visit by the crown prince, Saudi Arabia announced it was lending Tunisia $500m.

Lebanese police accused of killing Syrian teen

The Lebanese police are facing charges of being involved in the death of a 14-year-old Syrian boy, according to online newspaper Arabi21.

Syria TV reported that Ahmed al-Zoubi worked as a shoe shiner in the streets of the Lebanese capital, and had gone missing for three days.

Surveillance camera footage obtained later found that al-Zoubi had been chased by police officers affiliated to the municipality of Beirut who followed him into a building, only to leave without him.

A few days after the chase, al-Zoubi’s body was found near the building, with the teenager believed to have died after falling from the sixth floor.

The Beirut municipality has denied that its officers caused al-Zoubi’s death, but internet users and some media outlets held the municipal security forces responsible for the death of the child.

Saudi imam, university professor dies in custody

Saudi activists have announced the death of Sheikh Ahmed al-Emari, former dean of the Faculty of Holy Quran at the University of Medina.

A Twitter account responsible for monitoring news of political detainees in Saudi Arabia stated that al-Amari died because of "medical negligence".

"Ahmed al-Amari died of a stroke in the prison caused by deliberately neglecting his serious situation that needed urgent treatment, leading him to slip into a coma and then die," the account Prisoner of Conscience wrote.

The account stressed that: "If silence about this situation persists, then we will hear in upcoming days unfortunate news about the death of others in prison, mainly elderly people and prisoners whose health condition has gotten worse after detention."

Saudi authorities have yet to comment on Emari’s death.

However, some rights activists have alleged that Emari died after being subjected to torture while in custody.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

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