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Tunisian judges denounce "stranglehold" on the judiciary

Judges gather on the steps of the Palace of Justice during a demonstration against Tunisian President Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia, Thursday, June 23, 2022   -  
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Hassene Dridi/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.


Dozens of judges, lawyers and civil society activists protested in Tunis on Thursday against President Kais Saied's dismissal of more than 50 judges a year ago.

The demonstrators denounced the government's "stranglehold" on the judiciary.

Since mid-February, authorities have arrested many of the most prominent opponents of President Kais Saied.

"Several lawyers handling important cases and of interest to the public opinion have informed us that the judges who are looking into those cases are afraid, and saying either they stop looking into those cases or they will get dismissed. Unfortunately, they [the judges, Ed.] were instructed to stop looking [into cases, Ed.] and we say we are against these practices which were common during [late President Zine El Abidine, Ed.] Ben Ali's era.
We do not want these practices to return", said Anas Hamadi, chief of the Tunisian Magistrates' Association.

In early 2022, a few months after seizing full power on 25 July 2021, Mr Saied dissolved the Supreme Council of the Judiciary (CSM) and replaced it with a provisional council whose members he appointed.

Under the new Constitution, which he had promulgated in the summer of 2022, the President appoints magistrates on the recommendation of the SJC, which had previously had this prerogative.

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