Moncef Marzouki, a resident of France, has denied the court’s decision, saying it was “issued by a lawless president who violated the country’s constitution”.
A Tunisian court has sentenced former president Moncef Marzouki to four years in prison for “violating” state security, according to state reports.
The 76-year-old, who lives in France, criticized the President Kais Said and he called for a protest.
Local journalists on Wednesday said they had been found guilty of “violating state security from outside” and “professionally injuring”.
In a statement to Al Jazeera, Marzouki dismissed the verdict as “illegal”, saying it was “handed over by an illegal president who violated the law”.
He said the allegations against him were “real changes” and instead applied to Saied, who in July seized power.
Marzouki also said it was “his future to fight tyranny” in his country until the end of his life, but added that he would not ask any lawyer to appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, his lawyer, Lamia Khemiri, told AFP that Marzouki had not received a summons and did not know why.
Saied, a former professor of law, was elected president in 2019. On July 25, after months of political and economic turmoil, he was elected President. removed the government, suspended parliament and instituted anti-corruption measures.
In September, he re-strengthened his powers by disregarding many of the 2014 democratic laws claiming he could rule lawfully during special elections, and promised to negotiate other reforms. Earlier this month, he he announced Parliament will remain suspended until a new election on December 17 next year. He also announced an 11-week “popular debate” to make “legislative and other changes” before the referendum on July 25, 2022, on new legislation.
Marzouki described Saied’s actions as a coup, called for protests against him and demanded that the international convention of French-speaking countries be canceled in Tunisia.
He also used the form of radio video and social networking sites to launch campaigns against Saied, whom he called “the tyrant”.
At a parade in early October in Paris, Marzouki, referring to Saied, called on the French government to “reject any form of government support for this man and the man who planned the anti-terrorist plot and abolished the law”.
Saied denied the allegations. He described Marzouki as one of Tunisia’s “enemies”, and asked the courts to investigate the allegations, as well as to withdraw his diplomatic passport.
Foreign donors needed to help deal with the upcoming financial crisis in Tunisia have urged Saied to restore order and that democracy and freedom of speech are essential to their relations with North Africa.
Following Tunisia’s 2011 democratically elected democratically elected government, Marzouki was elected president by the left president, overseeing the new constitutional changes in 2014.
Marzouki is no stranger to being brought to court under various presidents. He was arraigned seven times under the leadership of the late President Habib Bourguiba, and sentenced to 11 months in prison during the reign of the late President Zine EL Abidine Ben Ali.