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Tunisia Judges Stay Off Bench a Second Week

FILE: A view shows an empty courtroom during a strike by Tunisian judges in a protest against a purge of their ranks, in Tunis, Tunisia, June 6, 2022.

Tunisian judges have announced they are extending their strike for a second week after President Kais Saied refused to reverse a decision to dismiss dozens of them, judges' unions said.

Tunisia's judges announced Saturday their strike will continue for a second week.

Tunisian President Kais Saied recently sacked 57 judges claiming they were corrupt and that they coddle terrorists, allegations the Tunisian Judges Association deny and say are politically motivated.

The first walkout began on Saturday, June 4. Saied has not shown any willingness to bend to the bench and its demands for the fired jurists to be reinstated.

Saied's decision sparked a wave of domestic and foreign criticism. Ten international rights groups accused him of dealing "a deep blow to judicial independence".

In mid-2021, Saied seized executive power in a move his foes called a coup, before setting aside the 2014 constitution to rule by decree and dismissing the elected parliament. Saied has set up a hand-picked panel to write a new constitution, specifically excluding a number of opposition political voices.