Tunisia court sentences former president to 8 years in prison for alleged incitement News
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Tunisia court sentences former president to 8 years in prison for alleged incitement

The Tunis Court of First Instance sentenced former president Moncef Marzouki in absentia on Friday to eight years in prison, according to a statement from the court’s spokesman, Mohamed Zaitouneh, to Tunisia’s state news agency. The charges against Marzouki, who lives in Paris, are based on statements that authorities believe violate laws against incitement and advocating the overthrow of the government, as outlined in Article 72 of the Tunisian Penal Code.

Zaitouneh stressed that Marzouki allegedly made these statements during a conference abroad where he called for a change in Tunisia’s form of government. The charges include inciting citizens to use weapons against each other and contributing to disorder, murder and looting throughout the country. However, Zaitouneh did not specify the timing of the statements attributed to him. In response to the verdict, Marzouki’s lawyer, Samir Ben Amor, told the Associated Press that it “reflects the hardening of the government’s political stance against its opponents.” Marzouki has not yet issued a statement.

After serving as Tunisia’s first democratically elected president from 2011 to 2014, Moncef Marzouki emerged as a vocal critic of President Kaïs Saied. Marzouki denounced Saied’s actions in 2021 as a coup, which included the closure of parliament, the dismissal of the government, and the assumption of governing powers by decree. As a result, Marzouki has consistently opposed Saied’s efforts to consolidate personal power and revise Tunisia’s post-Arab Spring constitution. Despite the opposition, Saied justified these measures as necessary to save Tunisia from prolonged chaos. Seeking public approval, Saied organized a constitutional referendum in 2022, albeit with a low turnout, to consolidate his expanded constitutional powers.