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Tunisia: 2 judges join hunger strike over judicial purge

Judges and lawyers gather to protest President of Tunisia, Kais Saied's decision to dissolve the Supreme Judicial Council in front of Palais de Justice in Tunis, Tunisia on 10 February 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Judges and lawyers gather to protest President of Tunisia, Kais Saied's decision to dissolve the Supreme Judicial Council in front of Palais de Justice in Tunis, Tunisia on 10 February 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

The Tunisian Judges Association announced yesterday that two judges have joined three of their colleagues who have been on hunger strike for two weeks in rejection of President Kais Saied's dismissal of 57 of their peers, Anadolu news agency reported.

The body criticised the "continued closure of prospects for dialogue with the executive authority, despite repeated demands."

It added that, in view of this situation, two other judges who had also been targeted by the dismissal decisions joined the hunger strike on Tuesday in support of their colleagues who had been on hunger strike since 22 June.

The association renewed its "full solidarity" with the striking judges and called on the rest of the judges to "support and accompany them in these difficult circumstances in which they chose to put their bodies and destinies on the line to defend the honour and dignity of the judiciary and its independence against the hegemony of the executive authority."

Tunisia president Kais Saied dissolves top judicial council - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Tunisia president Kais Saied dissolves top judicial council – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

On Sunday, the judges' association announced a temporary suspension of the strike by the judges, and called on the executive authority to "open the door to negotiation for a solution to the crisis".

In early June, Saied issued a presidential order dismissing 57 judges on a number of charges including "disrupting investigations" into terrorism and committing "financial and moral corruption", which the judges deny.

On 6 June, most of the judges began an open strike.

Yesterday, it was announced that the health of judges, Hammadi Rahmani, Ramzi Bahria and Mohamed Taher Kanzari, had deteriorated as a result of their ongoing hunger strike.

There was no immediate comment from the Tunisian authorities on the judges' demands.

READ: Tunisia Constitution establishes dictatorship

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