Tunisia: Former Presidential candidate Karoui starts hunger strike in prison

Head of Heart of Tunisia party and Former Presidential candidate, Nabil Karoui, started Saturday a hunger strike in prison to protest against his continued detention since December 2020 on money laundering and tax evasion charges.

Nazih Souii, lawyer of the media mogul and Nessma TV owner, told state-run news agency TAP that his client is illegally held in detention arguing that he has already spent 211 days in prison, way beyond the preventive detention period set at six months per article 85 Code of Penal Procedure.

He should have been freed on May 5 but investigating judge extended his detention without making it public, Souii stressed.

Karoui, head of the second largest party in legislature and candidate of 2019 presidential elections was arrested in December last year for money laundering and tax evasion through off-shore companies in Morocco, Luxemburg and Algeria, held with his brother Ghazi Karoui, who is on the run.

In late February, the investigating judge ordered Nabil Karoui’s release on a $3.6 million bail, but on the same day, public prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Tunis appealed against the decision.

Karoui was first arrested in August 2019 few weeks before the runoff that opposed him to incumbent President Kais Saied after a lawsuit lodged against him by I Watch, an anticorruption watchdog.

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