Morocco’s Prince Moulay Hicham, King Mohammed VI’s first cousin, said on Saturday he had been expelled from Tunisia on the day he arrived to attend an academic conference.
“Policemen came to my hotel shortly after my arrival yesterday (Friday) and I was taken to the airport,” the prince told AFP.
Moulay Hicham, who lives in the United States, had travelled to Tunisia for a conference organised by Stanford University on the political transition in Tunisia after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.
Known as the “rebel prince” for his outspoken criticism of Morocco’s political system, Moulay Hicham said he had demanded to be given a “document to justify my expulsion, since I had done nothing wrong”.
“The policemen were embarrassed; they only spoke about a ‘sovereign decision’ and agreed to cancel the entry stamp on my passport,” he said.
He said his treatment had been “respectful and professional” and that he was put on an Air France flight to Paris.
“I had come to discuss the challenge facing Tunisia’s democratic transition,” he said, but declined to speculate why the Tunisian authorities expelled him.
There was no immediate comment from the interior ministry in Tunis.
But an organiser of the conference, Houssem Aoudi, called the expulsion order “a tough blow to Tunisian democracy”.
The conference was organised by Stanford University’s Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.