Crime & Justice

Tunisian security forces close access to Superior Council of the Magistracy

Tunis, Feb 7 (EFE).- Tunisia’s security forces on Monday closed access to the Superior Council of the Magistracy’s headquarters after the country’s president, Kais Saied, announced its dissolution.

On Sunday at dawn, the Presidency published a statement by Saied in which he announced that he would publish a “temporary” decree to dissolve the council that “is considered part of the past from now”.

The decision, which has yet to be issued as a decree, is a “serious regression of constitutional achievements,” the Association of Tunisian Magistrates denounced in a statement on Monday.

It “reflects a desire to submit the judiciary to the government in order to centralize all powers in the hands of the head of state,” the statement read.

Shortly after Saied’s announcement, his supporters gathered in front of the council’s headquarter in the capital to demand a “purge” of corrupt magistrates.

The council withholds evidence and delays trials for the murders of left-wing politicians Chokri Belaïd and Mohamed Brahmi – shot by Salafist extremists in 2013 – according to critics.

The head of the Council, Youssef Bouzacker, said the body will continue its work until the end of the term in October since there is no legal and constitutional framework to adopt such an “illegal” measure.

Over the past few months, the president has criticized the magistrates for defending private interests and proclaimed the review of the judiciary to eradicate corruption.

The council, created in 2016, is an independent body in charge of appointing judges as well as ensuring the independence of the judiciary. It benefits from administrative and financial autonomy, as stated in the constitution.

On 25 July, Saied declared the State of Exception, which included the dismissal of the prime minister and the suspension of Parliament.

Since then, Saied has frozen nearly all of the 2014 Constitution and has assumed full powers to “recover social peace”, which critics considered a coup. EFE


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