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Tunisia court suspends president’s dismissal of 50 judges

A general view shows the Ariana tribunal near the Tunisian capital ...   -  
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FETHI BELAID/AFP or licensors


The Tunisian judiciary on Wednesday suspended the dismissal of some 50 judges, decided in early June by President Kais Saied and described as an "attack on the rule of law" by several NGOs, judicial sources told AFP.

On June 1, Mr Saied -- who took over all powers a year ago -- had dismissed 57 judges by presidential decree, accusing them of corruption and obstructing several investigations.

Fifty-three judges, some of whom were accused of "adultery", had filed appeals with the administrative court.

The suspension of the dismissals for an unspecified number of judges was announced to the press by administrative court spokesman Imed Ghabri.

Lawyer Kamel Ben Messoud, from the defence committee of the dismissed judges, said that the suspension concerns "about 50 judges" who, according to him, will be able to resume their functions as soon as they receive a copy of the verdict.

The other magistrates, who are facing criminal charges, have not benefited from the suspension decision, Ben Messoud told local media.

The administrative court told AFP it would publish its decision later today, without giving further details.

The dismissal of these magistrates had been denounced by several NGOs, including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, as a "direct attack on the rule of law" and had led to more than a month's well-attended strike by magistrates.

Since 25 July 2021, Mr. Saied has been acting in the interest of the country, which he considers ungovernable, and has concentrated all powers, raising fears of an autocratic drift in the cradle of the Arab Spring.

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