Tunisian former presidential candidate Nabil Karoui freed from detention

Nabil Karoui, head of Heart of Tunisia party and business mogul detained for alleged corruption and tax evasion, has been set free, his defense told media on Tuesday.

Ramzi Bendia, a member of the defense, told local radio Mozaique FM, “the farce is over”.

A video posted by the local radio showed the owner of Nesma TV coming out of prison and welcomed by his loved ones and members of his party, the second largest political group in the Tunisian legislature.

The former candidate of the 2019 presidential elections was arrested in December on charges of tax evasion through shell companies he and his brother Ghazi Karoui set up in Algeria, Morocco and Luxemburg.

A court in capital Tunis in February rejected a demand for his release on bail. The media mogul went on a hunger strike early this month in protest to his continued detention.

The defense team blasted his prolonged detention arguing that it went beyond the preventive detention period set at six months per article 85 of Code of Penal Procedure.

His liberation came few days after the investigating judge at Tunis first instance court accused Thursday three experts tasked to investigate finances of Karoui’s businesses, of distorting the report they produced. 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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