Tunisian President’s Rival Makhlouf Sentenced to One-Year Imprisonment

Tunisian President's Rival Makhlouf Sentenced to One-Year Imprisonment (News Central TV)

A military appeal court in Tunisia has sentenced a prominent political opponent of President Kais Saied Seifeddine Makhlouf to one year in prison and barred him from practicing law for the next five years.

Makhlouf’s counsel said that his client was charged with disrespecting a judge and that the verdict was a sham.

“Theverdict is a real farce. This is the judiciary that Saied wants.. a judiciary that he could control it and use it against opponents,” Makhlouf’s lawyer, Anouar Awled Ali said.

He claimed that President Saied had established a judiciary that he could manipulate and use against his opponents.

Saied replaced the Supreme Judicial Council with a provisional council earlier this year. He fired scores of judges in early June, accusing them of corruption and sheltering terrorists, in a move that judges’ unions say permits him to exert influence over the judiciary and fill vacancies with his loyalists.

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The Judicial Council had acted as the main guarantor of judicial independence since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution which ushered in democracy.

Makhlouf is the leader of the conservative Karama party, which is affiliated with the Islamist Ennadha. He has been a vocal opponent of Mr Saied’s efforts to establish what amounts to one-man rule.

Saied fired scores of judges earlier this month, accusing them of shielding Insurgents.

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