Middle East, Africa

Tunisian judiciary refers 19 people to trial for ‘electoral crimes’

Defendants include 4 former premiers, politicians

Yousri Ounas   | 06.01.2022
Tunisian judiciary refers 19 people to trial for ‘electoral crimes’ Tunisian voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Tunis, Tunisia on October 13, 2019 Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )

TUNIS, Tunisia

The Tunisian judiciary on Wednesday referred 19 people to trial for "election violations," including the head of the Ennahda movement, Rachid Ghannouchi, and former President Moncef Marzouki.  

According to a statement issued by the Information and Communication Office of the Court of First Instance, the defendants were referred "for committing electoral crimes during the 2019 elections such as the use of illegal electoral propaganda through social media and propaganda during the electoral silence period."

According to the statement, the individuals referred also include Nabil Karoui, the head of the Heart of Tunisia party and a presidential candidate for the 2019 elections, and former Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zubaidi.

They also include four former prime ministers: Youssef Chahed, Elyes Fakhfakh, Mehdi Jomaa and Hamadi Jebali.

The court’s decision is based on a report by the Court of Accounts regarding the early presidential elections in 2019.

On Wednesday, the adviser to the head of the Ennahda movement, Riadh Chouaibi, told Anadolu Agency that "Ghannouchi was not a candidate in the 2019 presidential elections and therefore there is no justification for this procedure against him."

Tunisian President Kais Saied ousted the government on July 25 last year, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his "exceptional measures" are meant to "save" the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.

*Writing by Bassel Barakat in Ankara

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