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Tunisia politicians criticise Marzouki arrest warrant

Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in Tunisia, on 7 September 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in Tunisia, on 7 September 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian politicians on Friday strongly criticised the issuance of an international arrest warrant by their country's judiciary against former President Moncef Marzouki, describing the move as "a setback and a disgrace".

On Thursday, a Tunisian court issued an international arrest warrant for Marzouki, who is out of the country, against the backdrop of his statements about the failures of the Francophone summit in Tunisia.

This step was considered by leader of the Amal Party, Ahmed Najib Chebbi, as: "A disgrace on the forehead of the Tunisian people and the state."

"It is a shame to persecute a Tunisian citizen for his opposition to the current president," Chebbi said, expressing his deep solidarity with Marzouki.

The party leader suggested that the arrest warrant for Marzouki was issued by direct order from President Saied during a ministerial meeting during which it was agreed to charge him with high treason.

READ: Tunisia president to shorten period of exceptional measures

Chebbi called on the judicial authorities of his country to preserve the Marzouki file to: "Emphasise his independence from any dependence on the presidency and the preservation of rights and freedoms in Tunisia."

On 14 October, during a meeting, President Saied announced: "The diplomatic passport will be withdrawn from everyone who went abroad and begged him to strike Tunisian interests," without explicitly referring to a specific person.

Saied stressed that he would not accept that "Tunisia's sovereignty is put on the negotiating table," considering that "sovereignty is for the people alone."

A day after Saied's statements on 14 October, a Tunisian court announced the opening of an investigation into Marzouki's efforts to thwart the holding of the Francophone summit, scheduled for this month.

The moves against Marzouki came after his statements to France 24 about his efforts to obstruct the summit scheduled on the Tunisian island of Djerba, in response to the exceptional measures announced by Saied last July.

On 13 October, the International Francophone Organisation decided to postpone the 18th summit that was to be held in Tunisia at the end of November.

The organisation attributed the reasons for the postponement to: "Allowing Tunisia to be able to organise this important meeting in the best conditions."

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