Tunisia – End of hunger strike signals challenges facing Saeid’s opposition
Location: Tunis – Tunisia
Source: A24 in Tunisia
Restrictions: A24 subscribers
Date: 02/08/ 2022
Tunisia’s Judges Association has announced the end of the hunger strike launched by several magistrates dismissed by President Kais Saeeid in a June decree.
Judge Rawda Al-Qarafi told A24 her peers now feel unsafe and afraid of what she called the sudden and unjustified dismissal by the president.
The decision to end the hunger strike follows doctors’ exams conducted last Thursday that showed severe deterioration in the judges’ health.
The medical examinations led concerned doctors to transfer several ill judges to local hospitals where they received needed treatment.
It also marks a new phase of an attempt to focus international attention on Saied’s effort to undermine the independence of the country’s judiciary .
Leaders of the judges association told A24 that they are consulting members to determine the future of their protest movement, once seen as an example of North Africa’s sole democratic success story.
– Soundbite (Bushra Belhaj Hamida – Civil society activist):
“We support the judges in their fight for judicial independence. We support their fight for the independence of court in decision making. We support this union cause.”
– Soundbite (Rawda Al-Qarafi – Judge):
“Most of these judges were dismissed without proper cause, due to the issuance of Decree No. 35 that gave the president authority to unilaterally dismiss judges without stating clear charges. Judges feel unsafe and afraid of sudden unjustified dismissal by the president. This constant fear makes for a weak judge who will never be capable of impartiality and independence.”