Tunis - Tunisia's presidency on Tuesday expressed its regret over the expulsion of Morocco's Prince Moulay Hicham, first cousin of King Mohammed VI, but did not explain why he had been deported.
The prince was expelled from Tunisia on Friday after arriving to attend an academic conference organised by Stanford University on the political transition in Tunisia after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.
"The president of the republic is exasperated by what happened to researcher (Prince Moulay) Hicham Al-Aloui and his expulsion from Tunisian territory," presidency spokesperson Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook.
Garrach said the prince was deported "according to automatic administrative procedures without being referred to officials, which we regret".
She gave no further information on why the prince was expelled, and was not available for further comment.
Rights groups were highly critical of the incident, saying it smacked of practices under longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in a 2011 revolution.
Campaign group CRLDHT expressed its "solidarity" with the prince and its "indignation" at his expulsion, saying it "constitutes a violation of human rights and freedom of movement guaranteed by the rule of law".
Known as the "rebel prince" for his outspoken criticism of Morocco's political system, Moulay Hicham lives in the United States where he is a researcher at Harvard University.
He said he had demanded to be given a "document to justify my expulsion, since I had done nothing wrong".