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US officials meet Tunisians civil society members

Tunisian President Kais Saied. (Reuters/File)
Tunisian President Kais Saied. (Reuters/File)
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16 Feb 2022 12:02:49 GMT9
16 Feb 2022 12:02:49 GMT9

TUNIS: US officials have met with Tunisian civil society representatives amid Washington’s concern over the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council, the US Embassy in Tunisia said on Tuesday, escalating international pressure on President Kais Saied.

Saied last week dissolved the council, one of the remaining institutions in Tunisia that was able to work independently of him, in the latest of a series of moves his opponents have described as being part of a coup.

US Deputy Assistant Secretaries Karen Sasahara and Christopher Le Mon met with Tunisian civil society representatives to discuss recent political and judicial developments, the US Embassy said in a statement.

“We are concerned by Tunisian President Saied’s decree. Last week, we joined like-minded partners in emphasizing that an independent judiciary is a core element of an effective and transparent democracy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price had said a day earlier.

Tunisia’s president cemented his grip over the judiciary on Sunday with a decree that lets him dismiss judges or block their promotion, helping consolidate his power after he seized executive authority last summer.

Saied outraged his opponents and alarmed democratic foreign allies with his announcement about the judicial body.

Saied, meanwhile, relieved the temporary head of national radio, Chokri Cheniti, from his position, the presidency announced in a statement.

Saied had appointed Cheniti as the temporary head of the national radio, Radio Tunisienne, in September. He did not name a replacement for Cheniti.


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