Tunisian court frees presidential hopeful

Tunis : Days ahead of Tunisia’s second round of runoff election, an appeal court here on Wednesday ordered to free presidential candidate Nabil Karoui from prison.

Karoui, a media mogul, was detained in August allegedly in a case related to money laundering and tax evasion and he has spent the entire campaign period in prison.

He has maintained that he is not guilty. The trial is pending in the court.
Tunis is scheduled to vote on Sunday. It is the second time Tunisian will vote since the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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“His release saved our transition and the situation at the last moment … We were in a very difficult moment in Tunisia which really threatened Tunisian democracy,” Karoui’s spokesman Hatem Mliki said.

Thousand of Karoui’s supporters gathered outside the party headquarters after the announcement of his release.

Last week, Tunisia President Mohamed Ennaceur said Karoui’s detention and inability to the campaign has damaged the credibility and the election.

Karoui will face Kais Saied, a retired law professor who came first during the last election with 18.4 vote share.

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