Tunisia presidential candidate to stay in jail

Salwa Smaoui, the wife of Tunisia's jailed presidential candidate Nabil Karoui (portrait) facing corruption charges, holds his election poster during a campaign event in Tunis on September 13, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 18 September 2019

Tunisia presidential candidate to stay in jail

  • “The judge has refused to give a ruling, saying it was not in his jurisdiction”

TUNIS: A fresh appeal for the release of jailed media mogul Nabil Karoui who has a reached a runoff in Tunisia’s presidential polls was turned down on Wednesday, his lawyers said.
“The judge has refused to give a ruling, saying it was not in his jurisdiction,” lawyer Kamel Ben Messoud said, after requesting his release the previous day.
“We will appeal,” he told AFP.
The court did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.
Karoui, a 56-year-old media magnate, is under investigation for alleged money laundering and has been in pretrial detention since August 23.
Lawyer Nazih Souii said it was the third time a judge had said the matter was beyond his jurisdiction.
The court of appeals refused to pass judgment on September 3, as did the court of cassation on September 13.
Tunisia’s electoral commission, ISIE, has confirmed Karoui made it to the presidential runoff along with law professor Kais Saied following Sunday’s first round vote.
Karoui remains eligible to run despite his imprisonment, as long as any conviction does not also specifically deprive him of his civil rights, according to ISIE.
He campaigned through the Nessma television channel he founded. ISIE has said it is investigating alleged electoral violations, including by Nessma TV.
Depending on potential appeals, the second round could be staged on October 6, the same day as legislative elections, or on October 13, ISIE said.
Observers from the European Union said the first round has been “transparent.”
But it called for the candidates to have the “same opportunities” to campaign, in an apparent allusion to Karoui.


Iran’s deputy health minister says he has coronavirus

Updated 14 min 53 sec ago

Iran’s deputy health minister says he has coronavirus

  • There is currently an outbreak of the disease in the Islamic republic
  • Iran confirmed three more deaths and 34 new infections on Tuesday

TEHRAN: Iran’s deputy health minister confirmed on Tuesday that he has tested positive for the new coronavirus, amid a major outbreak in the Islamic republic.
Iraj Harirchi coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweating during a press conference in Tehran on Monday with government spokesman Ali Rabiei.
At the time he denied a lawmaker’s claim that 50 people had died from the virus in the Shiite shrine city of Qom, saying he would resign if the number proved to be true.
In a video broadcast on state television, the deputy minister put on a brave face as he admitted he was infected.
“I too have been infected with coronavirus,” Harirchi said in the video apparently shot by himself.
“I had a fever as of last night and my preliminary test was positive around midnight,” he said.
“I’ve isolated myself in a place since. A few minutes ago, I was told that my final test was final, and now I am starting medication.
“I wanted to tell you that... we will definitely be victorious against this virus in the next few weeks,” Harirchi declared.
But he warned Iranians to be careful as the “virus does not discriminate” and infects anyone, regardless of standing.
Following news of his infection, government spokesman Rabiei, who stood by his side on Monday, appeared at another press conference with the country’s industries minister on Tuesday as well as other officials.
Iran confirmed three more deaths and 34 new infections on Tuesday, taking the country’s overall death toll to 15 and infection tally to 95.
The Islamic republic has been hit by the deadliest coronavirus outbreak by far outside China.
According to the health ministry, most of the deaths and infections outside Qom are among people who have recently visited the holy city.
The ministry’s spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 16 of the new cases were confirmed in Qom, while nine were in Tehran, and two each in Alborz, Gilan and Mazandaran.
The virus appeared to be spreading to new parts of Iran, as one new case was also reported in each of the provinces of Fars and Khorasan Razavi, as well as Qeshm island.
Despite being Iran’s epicenter of the outbreak, Qom has yet to be quarantined.
Health minister Saeed Namaki defended the decision on Tuesday and said that quarantine is an “old method.”
“We still do not agree with quarantining cities since we believe the people are cultured enough to refrain from traveling from infected cities to other places,” semi-official news agency ISNA quoted him as saying.