Tunisia: Second round candidate’s demand for release from prison rejected

A judge has rejected a demand for the release of media mogul and candidate for the second round of Presidential elections who has been in detention since late last month on money laundering charges.

Lawyers of Nabil Karoui and his party, Heart of Tunisia, said Thursday the investigative judge has rejected the demand for the release of the media mogul submitted Tuesday. The judge, according to the lawyers, indicated that he was “incompetent” to address the demand.

It is the third time that the release request is rejected.

Karoui, a media businessman was arrested late last month on money laundering charges following a lawsuit lodged by a local NGO.

Though being in prison, Karoui scored 15.6 percent during the first round of the presidential election held Sunday, ranking second. He would face independent candidate and law Professor, Kais Saied, who emerged as the surprise leader from polls.

The electoral commission, ISIE, on Monday warned that Karoui will lose his second position if he is found guilty and sentenced.

Abdelfattah Mourou of moderate Islamist party, Ennahdha, who came in third with 12.9 percent of votes will replace him.

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