Former Tunisian President Marzouki sentenced to prison

A Tunisian court found former President Moncef Marzouki guilty of “undermining the foreign security of the state” and sentenced him in absentia to four years in prison, the state news agency TAP reported on Wednesday.

Marzouki, who lives in Paris, accused current Tunisian President Kais Saied of staging a coup in July after Kais announced he would suspend Parliament’s work, sacked the prime minister and suspended legislators parliamentary immunity amid a growing political crisis.Saied has rejected allegations that his takeover, suspension of Parliament and plans to change the constitution are a coup, Reuters reported.

Saied said he acted to end the protracted political paralysis and that a referendum on a new constitution will be held next year, followed by parliamentary elections, according to Reuters. On November 4, TAP reported that the judge in charge of his case had issued an international arrest notice against Marzouki.

Marzouki was elected Tunisian interim president in 2011 by the Tunisian Constituent Assembly, in charge of designing a new constitution after the fall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Al amid the Arab Spring protests. Marzouki was president until 2014. In the decade prior to his appointment, Marzouki had lived in exile. As a human rights activist, he founded the National Committee for the Defense of Prisoners of Conscience and was the director of the Tunisian League for Human Rights.

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