This is a new blow to the judicial system in Tunisia, which has been under pressure for several months with the decisions of the President of the Republic, Kais Saied. According to a decree published in Official Gazette Wednesday night 1Verse June, 57 judges were dismissed. The judges are suspected of being involved in corruption, illicit enrichment, undermining state security or obstructing the course of justice, according to the list of grievances submitted to justify these dismissals.
“We cannot save the country without cleaning up the judicial system,” Mr. Saeed announced during the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. After the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council, in February, for the same reasons, a body supposed to guarantee the proper conduct of justice and respect for its independence, the president granted himself The power to dismiss judges By decree. The decision sparked a wave of anger within a part of the judiciary, which has proven that it maintains its independence.
These dismissals come at a time when highly political trials are underway linked to the assassinations of two leaders of the left, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, in 2013. On Wednesday, without hinting openly, Mr. Said expressed his impatience “late” and for “Premeditated postponements” justice in some cases. Tuesday, May 31, for example, the trial for the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi was postponed to October 4.
“We reject any interference in the work of justice, but duty requires a reaction,” The head of state announced the next day. Since granting himself full powers on July 25, 2021, he has regularly called for the truth to be revealed about these cases in which the conservative Islamist Ennahda party, the majority in Parliament at the time of the assassinations, is cited. Confront the hostility of the president.
Among the list of dismissed judges are many prosecutors and investigative judges, such as Bashir Al-Akrimi, the former investigative judge mentioned in the political assassination case, or Al-Tayeb Rashid, who was suspended from his work in 2021 after being accused of financial corruption. Some judges consider that the list also targets figures at odds with Mr. Said, such as Youssef Bouzacher, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party who denounced the dissolution of his organization by the president.
“Even if the list includes the names of the “repo” judges known to all, the majority relates to judges who left their reserve duty in the face of Qais Said, Comments by Ahmed Sawab, lawyer and former judge. These dismissals are considered as “Violation of all rights of the judge, including his right at least to defend himself like any other citizen.” In fact, Mr. Saeed published, on Wednesday, an additional decree that prevents the dismissed judges from any possibility of appealing this decision, as long as they are not tried on the facts of which they are accused.
Jawhar bin Mubarak, one of the leaders of Citizens Against the Coup, an opposition group to the head of state, criticized A. “Massacre in the Judiciary” And the boss now considers himself “Chief Justice”. He also denounced former deputies of the Democratic Current (Democratic Socialist) ‘choke fist’ Executive power over justice, During a press conference on Thursday, June 2nd. Ghazi Chaouachi, the party’s president, announced the intention of his party and other political movements to boycott the constitutional and legislative referendum scheduled for 25 July by the President of the Republic.
Less than two months before this deadline, Tunisia’s president is growing increasingly isolated. Evidenced by the recent refusal of the trade union center of the Tunisian General Union of Strong Labor to participate in the national dialogue proposed by Kais Saied with the aim of establishing “New Republic”. Relations with Tunisia’s external partners have also been strained. And so the president denounced on Monday a ‘Unacceptable interference’ From the Venice Commission, an advisory body to the Council of Europe, which has just released a critical report on its plans for constitutional reform.
announced the president “Expulsion from Tunisian soil” from the said committee. Wednesday evening, it also overshadowed “Those who sell our sovereignty to foreign forces”, without specifying who he was referring to. According to Mr. Sawab, the embattled president with criticism of his reforms, “This play needs, by impeaching the judges, to create a diversion.”
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