Tunisian MPs jailed


A Tunisian military judge jailed two lawmakers from the Islamist Karama party, a lawyer and the judiciary said, amid concerns for human rights after the president seized governing powers in July.

The court jailed Nidal Saudi and Saif Eddine Makhlouf, a leader of the Karama party and frequent critic in parliament of President Kais Saied, taking the number of imprisoned MPs to five.

Saudi was ordered jailed for allegedly insulting security staff at the airport months ago, his lawyer Ines Harrath said.

Makhlouf, detained and released last week when he tried to attend a court hearing against himself, was imprisoned after refused permission to represent Saudi as a lawyer.

A statement by the military judiciary said the judge ordered Makhlouf jailed because he threatened a military judge and accused military judges of being involved in what Makhlouf described as a coup.

Saied dismissed the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed all governing powers on July 25 but has yet to name a new premier or declare a roadmap for the future, raising concerns over his intentions.

Rights groups are pushing for the release of another parliament member, Yassin Ayari, and criticise the use of military courts to try civilians. They also voice concern over travel bans for people wanted on a variety of charges.

Saied defended his intervention, rejected accusations of a coup and pledged to uphold rights. He instituted transitional governing rules and would introduce a new electoral law.