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Tunisia: Opponents in pre-trial detention boycott investigating judge

Chaima Issa member of Tunisia's "National Salvation Front" opposition coalition, holds a picture of jailed journalist Chadha Hadj Mbarek outside a military court, Oct 3 2023.   -  
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A group of six Tunisian opponents, who claim to be political prisoners of the Kais Said regime and in pre-trial detention since last February for an alleged case of conspiracy against state security denounced on Tuesday a judicial masquerade and announced their boycott of the investigating judge and all measures he has taken.

"I can no longer accept this situation, because this situation denies that I am a citizen. Based on the foundations of human rights, I am now deprived of these rights. So I'm very sad and very angry about this situation," Chaima Issa, member of the FSN.

In a statement, the detainees, members of the National Salvation Front which brings together political parties of different ideologies and independent militants against what they call a coup d'état, accuse the authorities of pressuring the judges in charge of these cases with veiled threats after the president has assured that those who acquitted them are his accomplices.

"We have passed the phase of harassment. They are firmly trying to silence opponents, free men and women. But as you can see, it's no use. They won't succeed," added Samir Dilou, lawyer.

According to the NSF president, one of the judges, did not conduct a serious investigation despite the extension of pre-trial detention limited by the Penal Code to a maximum of 14 months and issued arrest warrants without legal basis and automatically rejected numerous release requests without legal cause.

Among the signatories are the former leader of the Ettakatol party, Khayam Turki, of Spanish nationality, the former vice-president of Ennahda, Abdelhamid Jelassi, the co-founder of the Democratic Current party, Ghazi Chaouachi, the general secretary of the Republican Party, Issam Chebbi, the constitutionalist Jaouhar Ben M'barek and the former executive member of the late Nidaa Tounes party, Ridha Belhaj.

Since the beginning of the year, the authorities have arrested some 30 politicians, businessmen and judges, most of whom belong to the Islamist party Ennahda, which has been the main political force over the past decade, after the 2011 revolution.

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