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Tunisian President Purges Judges

Tunisian President Purges Judges

Thursday, 2 June, 2022 - 06:15
President Kais Saied meets with Justice Minister Leïla Jaffel. Photo: Tunisian Presidency

Tunisia's president sacked 57 judges on Wednesday, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists, Reuters reported.

In a televised address President Kais Saied said he had "given opportunity after opportunity and warning after warning to the judiciary to purify itself". Hours later the official gazette published a decree announcing the dismissals.

Among those sacked was Youssef Bouzaker, the former head of the Supreme Judicial Council whose members Saied replaced this year as he moved to take control of the judiciary.

Another prominent judge on the list of those sacked was Bachir Akremi, whom some political activists accuse of being too close to Ennahda party and of stopping cases against it. Ennahda and Akremi both deny that.

Last summer Saied dismissed the government and seized executive power in a move his foes called a coup before setting aside the 2014 constitution to rule by decree and dismissing the elected parliament.

He says his moves were needed to save Tunisia from crisis and his intervention initially appeared to have widespread public support after years of economic stagnation, political paralysis and corruption.

Saied, who has also replaced the independent electoral commission, has also said he will introduce a new constitution this month that he will put to a referendum next month.

However, nearly all Tunisia's political parties have rejected the move along with the powerful UGTT labor union.

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