Sacked Tunisian judges to go on hunger strike in protest against President Saied's purge
Three judges in Tunisia have announced that they will go on hunger strike to protest their dismissal by President Kais Saied, according to a statement released Wednesday.
As part of their strike, the judges - Ramzi Bahria, Mohamed Taher Kanzari, and Hammadi Rahmani - are demanding the annulment of the 1 June presidential decree that enabled their sacking, according to the statement obtained by online news site Ultra Tunisia.
عاجل | جمعية القضاة التونسيين: دخول 3 قضاة مشمولين بقرار الإعفاء في إضراب جوع احتجاجا على المرسوم الرئاسي pic.twitter.com/9uaSSozdeg— ISHRAQAT 🍁❤🍀 إشراقات (@ishraqat_tn) June 22, 2022
In their statement, the judges denounced the interference of the president and demanded the restoration of the judiciary's autonomy. They branded Saied's power-grabbing decrees "unconstitutional’ and illegal".
They also urged the immediate return of the dismissed judges and the lifting of any grievances against them, as well as the opening of an investigation against all involved in their dismissal.
Earlier this month, President Saied issued a decree extending his power over Tunisia's judiciary, sacking 57 judges amid a mass purge. Opponents have decried this and the dissolving of parliament as a coup.
Saied accused the judges of "corruption, cover-ups and protecting terrorist suspects", which the Judges Association said was mostly "politically motivated".
The decree subsequently led to a nationwide strike and a suspension of work since 6 June by multiple unions, who described the president's dismissal of judges as unconstitutional.
On Thursday, judges are expected to hold a 'national day of anger' in front of the Palais de Justice courthouse in Tunis in protest against the purge, reported Arabi21.
Saied, who came into power in 2019, launched a series of power-grabbing moves in July last year, sacking the government and suspending parliament.
The president's actions have drawn condemnation from rights groups, as fears that the country sliding into autocracy mount.