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Judges in Tunisia called to take “struggle” steps, and some of them threatened to close the courts in response to President Kais Saied’s announcement of the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council. The Ennahda movement announced its solidarity with the judges and its condemnation of the president’s decision.
For his part, President Saeed defended his decision, denying that his goal was to collect state powers in his hands, and vowed not to interfere in the judiciary.
Saeed said when receiving Prime Minister Naglaa Boden that there is a text almost ready that will be discussed regarding what was announced the day before yesterday, Saturday, regarding the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council, where he said that the Council is in the past.
Said added – according to what was stated in a video clip broadcast by the Tunisian presidency on Facebook – “I want to reassure everyone in Tunisia and outside Tunisia… I will never interfere in the judiciary, and the solution was not resorted to except because it became a necessity and because the Tunisian people want to purify the country.”
He continued, “The historical duty and responsibility required that this farce be put to an end and that we listen to it, and I do not want to talk today about a number of names.”
Commenting on developments in Tunisia, the US State Department today expressed “deep concern” about the Tunisian president’s announcement of the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council, and said that the Tunisian government should fulfill its obligations to respect the independence of the judiciary in accordance with the constitution.
The State Department said it reiterates its call for rapid political reform in Tunisia that responds to the aspirations of the people, and urges the Tunisian government to prioritize economic reforms to achieve financial stability.
On the other hand, a spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations said, “It would be worrying for us if the judicial authorities in Tunisia are not respected.” The spokesman called for the judicial authorities in Tunisia to be treated “fairly and respectfully.”
Meanwhile, movements and reactions continued inside Tunisia to respond to the president’s decision, especially after Tunisian security closed the headquarters of the Supreme Judicial Council today.
Al-Nahda stands in solidarity with the judges
The Ennahda movement renewed its solidarity with the judges in what it described as the battle being waged against them with illegal tools.
Ennahda spokesman Imad Khamiri said that the decisions taken by President Said plunge Tunisia further into its political crisis.
On the other hand, Mohamed Abbou, the former minister and founder of the Democratic Current, filed a complaint against the Tunisian president against the background of his recent decision.
Abbou said in a Facebook post that the ball is now in the judges’ court, calling on the prosecutor to implement the law without other accounts or to let others do their duty.
Abbou – who was one of the advocates of activating Chapter 80 of the Tunisian Constitution related to exceptional measures – added that he wanted President Saeed to impose the rule of law on everyone with exceptional measures, but he became a danger to the country, as he put it.
Meanwhile, members of the Association of Tunisian Judges (an independent representing most of the judges) called to study the response to President Said’s actions, and to take steps they described as struggle to protect the judiciary and the sanctity of the courts, as they put it.
The honorary president of the Tunisian Judges Association, Rawda Al-Qarafi, said in a statement to Anadolu Agency that coordination and consultation is underway between the bodies representing the judges to organize protest movements to counter President Said’s move.
She added that “the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council was expected after the campaign and the attack on the judges and the council, in a collective accusation of corruption and negligence.”
Earlier, the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Youssef Bouzacher, said that the police forces closed the doors of the council with iron locks and prevented employees from entering it. Tunisian security did not clarify to the judges who issued the instructions to close the council’s headquarters.
Bozacher described the president’s decision as dangerous and illegal, and said that Said had reached the stage of “confiscation of institutions”.
On the other hand, the Dean of Tunisian lawyers, Ibrahim Bouderbala, defended Said’s decision to dissolve the Supreme Judicial Council, and said in a bulletin to Al-Jazeera that the president can take such a decision in accordance with the exceptional procedures he adopted.