Dozens of judges and civil society activists in Tunisia demonstrated in front of the Court of First Instance in the city of El Kef, in the northwest of the country, to protest the appearance of the head of the Association of Tunisian Judges, Anas Al-Hammadi, before the investigating judge of the same court.
Al-Hammadi does not enjoy immunity after the temporary Supreme Council of the Judiciary, which was appointed by Tunisian President Qais Saeed, withdrew it from him, in preparation for his prosecution.
The demonstrators carried banners reading: “The judiciary is an authority, not a job,” “The judiciary is a power, not a job,” “The judiciary is liberties, not the instructions,” and “No law, no democracy to eliminate subordination,” and “Enough of executing the judiciary.. Enough of dismantling the rule of law.”
And last Friday, a decision was issued to invite Al-Hammadi to appear before the investigating judge of the Court of First Instance in Kef, yesterday, Monday, against the background of his trade union activity and his defense of the independence of the judiciary, and of exempted judges during June 2022, according to a statement issued by the association.
In media statements before entering the court, Al-Hammadi said, “The president of the association does not represent for the sake of corruption, bribery, or any kind of crime (..), but rather he represents for the legitimate right of judges to exercise the union right.”
He added, “We will continue to defend this right, whatever the cost,” stressing respect for the judiciary. “The authority’s goal is to intimidate judges,” he continued.
According to local Radio Mosaique, the investigative judge at the Kef Court of First Instance decided to postpone hearing the president of the Tunisian Judges Association, until mid-November.
And in early June 2022, Qais issued a presidential order dismissing 57 judges on charges including “changing cases,” “obstructing investigations” into terrorism files, and committing “financial and moral corruption,” before the Administrative Court decided to stop implementing the decision on August 9. Same year.
On August 14, 2022, the Ministry of Justice issued its first comment on the court’s decision regarding the two articles, stating that “the judges covered by the dismissal decision issued by the country’s president, Qais Saeed, are still the subject of judicial prosecution.”
Since July 25, 2021, Tunisia has been suffering from an acute political crisis, when the president began imposing exceptional measures. Including: dismissing the government and appointing another, dissolving the Judicial Council and Parliament, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, and approving a new constitution through a referendum on July 25.
Meanwhile, a security squad arrested – yesterday, Monday – the official of the Ennahda Movement’s Information Office, Abdel Fattah El-Taghouti.
The political advisor to the head of the Ennahda movement, Riyad al-Shuaibi, said, “A security squad affiliated with the National Guard at the El-Awaina barracks in the capital, was the one that arrested al-Tagouti.”
Al-Shuaibi explained that the reasons for the arrest are not yet clear,” noting that it may relate to “a previous search (permission) card, related to a case in which Al-Tagouti was arrested and then released.”
On March 14, “Al-Taghouti was arrested in a case of conspiracy against state security,” before the investigating judge decided to release him 10 days after his arrest.
Since last February 11, the Tunisian authorities have carried out a campaign of arrests that included leaders and activists in the opposition, which considers the exceptional measures imposed by Tunisian President Qais Saied a “coup against the constitution of the revolution (the 2014 constitution), and a consecration of absolute individual rule,” while another team sees it as a “correction.” of the course of the 2011 revolution.