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Tunisian Judges to Protest Saied’s Judiciary Purge

Tunisian Judges to Protest Saied’s Judiciary Purge
folder_openTunisia access_time9 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Judges in Tunisia will go on strike from judiciary work for a week and hold sit-in protests against a purge of their ranks, amid growing tensions over the president’s push for one-man rule.

President Kais Saied this week fired 57 judges, accusing them of corruption and protecting “terrorists” in a crackdown on the north African country’s legal system.

Judge Hammadi Rahmani said a meeting of judges on Saturday decided unanimously to suspend work in all courts and start the sit-in.

The strike is set to begin on Monday in all judicial institutions and could be extended, said Anas Hamaidi, president of the Association of Judges.

Last year, Saied seized executive power in a move that the opposition called a coup, before setting aside the 2014 constitution to rule by decree and dissolving the elected parliament.

Youssef Bouzaker, the former head of the Supreme Judicial Council whose members Saeid replaced this year, was among the judges fired this past week. The council acted as the main guarantor of judicial independence since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution that introduced democracy.

Some judges said the purge came after they rejected interventions from Tunisia’s Justice Minister Leïla Jaffel and in some cases from people surrounding Saeid.

"This injustice will not pass in silence... These free voices will never be silenced," Hamaidi said.

"The attack was not only against judges, but on the law and freedoms."

Saied’s purge of the judiciary sparked international outrage, with Washington accusing the leader of undermining Tunisia’s democratic institutions.