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Tunisia President Sacks 57 Judges 

President of Tunisia, Kais Saied, has sacked about 57 judges after accusing the judiciary of financial corruption and protecting “terrorists”.

Among those sacked was Youssef Bouzaker, the former head of the Supreme Judicial Council, which Saied dissolved in February.

The council had acted as the main guarantor of judicial independence since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution and the move fuelled accusations that Saied was interfering in the judicial process.

Another prominent casualty of the purge was Bachir Akremi. Some political activists say the judge is too close to the Ennahda party and accuse him of stopping cases against it. Ennahda and Akremi both deny the allegations.

On May 30, 2022, President Saied received at Carthage Palace, Mrs. Laila Jaffal, Minister of Justice, and  Tawfiq Sharaf El Din, Minister of Interior, intimating them about the alleged public service defiance by the judges.

“During this meeting, they discussed the functioning of the public service of justice, as well as the general security situation in the country.

“The President of the Republic stressed that no one is above the law and that no one can justify his money, his job or his kinship to evade punishment.

“The head of state also stressed that everyone is equal before the law, and that the country can only be purified when laws are applied in palaces of justice far from any influence”, the Tunisia presidency website alleged in a statement.

Aljazeera reported on Thursday that in a national broadcast, President Kais Saied claimed that he had to dismiss the judges having “given opportunity after opportunity and warning after warning to the judiciary to purify itself.”

Last July, Saied dismissed the government and seized executive power, before setting aside the 2014 constitution and dismissing the country’s elected parliament.

He has been ruling by decree ever since, claiming he needed to take action to save Tunisia from crisis. Initially, his moves appeared to win public support after years of economic stagnation, political paralysis and corruption, but public anger is growing amid high inflation and unemployment, and declining public services.

Saied, who has also taken control of the once independent electoral commission, has said he will introduce a new constitution this month.

However, nearly all of Tunisia’s political parties have rejected the move along with the powerful UGTT labour union.

The UGTT said this week that public sector workers would go on strike on June 16, posing the biggest direct challenge to Saied’s power grab so far.

Manuels Effe


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