Tunisia: political crisis deepens


Tunisia’s former president Moncef Marzouki was sentenced in absentia to four years in prison by the Tunis Court of First Instance on Dec. 21. Marzouki was convicted of “undermining the external security of the State,” according to Tunisia’s national press agency. Marzouki served as Tunisia’s president from 2011 through 2014. Most recently, Marzouki has received attention for his criticism of Tunisia’s current President Kaïs Saied.

Saied was elected as president in 2019. In July 2021, he suspended parliament and fired the prime minister amid national unrest over economic turmoil and the COVID-19 pandemic. Saied has since tightened his grip on power.

Marzouki has called Saied a “dictator,” arguing that he conducted a coup in July. Marzouki frequently takes to social media platforms to condemn Saied’s regime and encourage protests. He has also called upon the French government to end support of Saied’s regime.

In October, Marzouki urged the Francophonie Summit, a major international meeting of French-speaking countries, to be moved from Tunisia. Following these comments, the Tunis Court of Appeal opened an investigation into Marzouki. The decision sentencing Marzouki to four years in prison reflects the findings of that investigation. According to the TAP, Marzouki “has harmed the interests of Tunisia, particularly at the diplomatic level.”

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Marzouki rejected the ruling as illegitimate and vowed to continue fighting Saied’s regime. Marzouki, however, does not intend to appeal the ruling.

From Jurist, Dec. 24. Used with permission.

See our last post on the political crisis in Tunisia.

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