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Ex-Tunisian leader says jail sentence 'humiliating'

Ex-Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki responds to four-year jail sentence
2 min read
23 December, 2021
Moncef Marzouki who called for protests against current Tunisian leader Kais Saied, said the verdict was issued 'on the orders of an illegitimate president'.
Former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki is openly critical of Kais Saied [Getty]

A former Tunisian president given a four-year prison sentence in absentia on Wednesday has lashed out at Tunisia's judiciary and president.

Ex-President Moncef Marzouki, who lives in Paris, was handed the sentence by the Tunisian court on Wednesday. He was found guilty of "assaulting the external security of the state" after he called for protests against President Kais Saied and urged France to end its support for Tunisia.

Marzouki, who is also critical of many of Tunisia's former leaders, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the verdict "was issued by a miserable judge on the orders of an illegitimate president".

"I was tried more than once during the reign of [Habib] Bourguiba, and I was tried more than once during the era of [Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali, and now a ruling is issued against me during the era of Kais Saied," Marzouki told his more than one million followers on Facebook.

"In the same humiliating manner... the cases for which I am being tried will win," Marzouki described, referring to Saied as a "lurking dictator" as he illustrated previous cases where he was tried during the rule of his fellow former presidents.

The official spokesman of the Al-Irada party founded by Marzouki told The New Arab's sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the court's ruling was "a major scandal".

"It is a disgrace on the... Tunisian judiciary, from which it cannot come back from,” spokesman Omar Sifawy said.

Marzouki's calls for protest angered Saied, who announced in October that Marzouki's diplomatic passport would be withdrawn.

Saied sacked ministers, froze parliament, and seized a range of powers in July. He has rejected widespread accusations that his actions constituted a coup.