Thirteen judges are expected to appear before Tunisia’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) today. The judges were stripped of their judicial
Thirteen judges are expected to appear before Tunisia’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) today.
The judges were stripped of their judicial immunity and will now appear before the country’s top court on charges of terrorism. The move is widely seen as part of President Kais Saied’s ongoing power grab. Saied suspended the country’s democratically elected parliament and dismissed the prime minister in July 2021. Since then he oversaw the adoption of a new constitution, which rendered parliament largely powerless, and took control of the judiciary.
In February 2022, Saied dissolved Tunisia’s previous top judicial body—which had been responsible for upholding judicial independence—and established the current SJC. Now Saied controls all the judges’ appointments and has the power to overrule their verdict. In June of the same year, he dismissed 57 judges, before reinstating some of them again in August. The 13 judges currently on trial were among those reinstated.
Frequent public protests have been held against Saied’s power grab and his inability to improve the country’s dire economic situation. This included large protests on January 14, which marked 12 years since the end of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, after which the country had emerged as a democracy. Another two-day general strike across all transportation sectors is expected to commence tomorrow, with more likely to follow.