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Tunisia issues search warrant for ex-presidential candidate and his brother

Tunisian media magnate Nabil Karoui [Anadolu Agency]
Former Tunisian presidential candidate, Nabil Karoui [Anadolu Agency]

The Tunisian judiciary yesterday issued a search warrant against former presidential candidate, Nabil Karoui, and his brother, MP Ghazi Karoui, following media reports about their arrest in Algeria two days ago.

Last Sunday, Tunisian media revealed that the Algerian judicial authorities had arrested the former presidential candidate and head of the Heart of Tunisia party, Nabil Karoui, and his brother Ghazi Karoui in the city of Tebessa.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted the official spokesman of the Kasserine Court, Riadh Al-Nouiri, as saying they had been detained for "illegally crossing the land border."

Al-Nouiri said that the judiciary arrested a person on charges of helping the Karoui brothers illegally enter the country.

Since 2017, the Karoui brothers have been investigated in money laundering and tax evasion cases. Nabil was arrested for interrogation before he was temporarily released in mid-June.

Tunisia and Algeria have an extradition treaty, which states either party "shall hand over every person present in the soil of one of the two countries and who is subject to prosecution or sentenced by the judicial authorities of the other."

READ: Tunisia plans to fabricate terrorism charges against Ennahda, source says

The agreement also stipulates that the extradition request must be accompanied by an official copy of the sentence or the arrest warrant.

At the same time, Tunisian human rights groups have said that authorities in Tunis have handed over Algerian political activist, Slimane Bouhafs, to Algiers. Media outlets reported the arrest of the Karoui brothers came in exchange for Bouhafs' extradition.

Bouhafs was granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Tunisia in September 2020. Bouhafs is considered one of the leaders in the Algerian Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylie (MAK), and he is being pursued in Algeria on charges of joining a terrorist group.

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