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Tunisia: arrest of a former deputy critical of the president after his conviction


A former Tunisian MP, a virulent critic of President Kais Saied, was arrested at his home on the night of Friday to Saturday after being...

A former Tunisian MP, a virulent critic of President Kais Saied, was arrested at his home overnight from Friday to Saturday after being sentenced by a military court to 14 months in prison, his lawyer said.

Seifeddine Makhlouf, leader of Al-Karama, an Islamo-nationalist party, was found guilty on Friday of insulting police officers at Tunis-Carthage international airport in March 2021.

A military court sentenced him on appeal on Friday to 14 months in prison with immediate effect, his lawyer, Ines Harrath, told AFP.

Mr. Makhlouf was sentenced in May 2022 to five months in prison at first instance.

About 20 plainclothes law enforcement officers surrounded his house around 11:00 p.m. and after two hours "

entered his house and took him away

", she added.

A video posted on Facebook by Ms Harrath shows Mr Makhlouf being led down the street by members of the security forces and shouting: "

Down with the coup


Men in civilian clothes then put him into a car.

Mr Makhlouf, who lost his parliamentary immunity in 2022, is a vocal critic of President Kais Saied.

Elected at the end of 2019, Mr. Saied assumed full powers at the end of July 2021 by dismissing the Prime Minister and suspending Parliament, before dissolving it in March 2022. His critics accuse him of establishing a new autocracy in the country which was the cradle of the Arab Spring in 2011.

In March 2021, Mr Makhlouf along with other MPs from his bloc had gone to Tunis airport to urge border police to let a woman travel, sparking a row.

As part of the case, the military court also sentenced several people, including members of Karama, to lighter prison terms on Friday.

In June 2022, Mr. Makhlouf was also sentenced on appeal by a military court to one year in prison for "

undermining the dignity of the army

", according to his lawyer.

He had also been sanctioned with a ban on practicing his profession as a lawyer for five years.

Local and international NGOs regularly denounce the prosecution of civilians by military tribunals.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-21

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