Tunisia’s former premier Jebali released from custody: lawyer

Hamadi Jebali Tunisian politician and former prime minister is pictured after submitting his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections, in the capital Tunis on August 6, 2019. (AFP)
Hamadi Jebali Tunisian politician and former prime minister is pictured after submitting his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections, in the capital Tunis on August 6, 2019. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 28 June 2022

Tunisia’s former premier Jebali released from custody: lawyer

Hamadi Jebali. (AFP file photo)
  • President Kais Saied in July last year sacked the government and suspended the Ennahdha-dominated parliament in a move opponents have called a coup in the only democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings

TUNIS: Tunisia’s former prime minister and senior official of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, Hamadi Jebali, was released on Monday, four days after he was arrested, one of his lawyers said.
A judge ordered Jebali’s release but he remains under investigation for suspected “money laundering,” the lawyer, Samir Dilou, told AFP.
He will have to appear on July 20 before an investigating judge of the anti-terrorist unit of Tunis, Dilou added.
On hunger strike since his arrest, Jebali was hospitalized Saturday while remaining in custody, said his lawyers.
Jebali was arrested Thursday in Sousse, a coastal city south of the capital Tunis, on charges of money laundering in connection with transfers of foreign funds to a charity in Tunisia, according to the interior ministry.
He denies the charges and has said the arrest was part of a campaign of settling political scores.
For more than a month, Jebali, who served as prime minister from 2011 to 2013, has been under investigation over the activities of his boiler factory in the Sousse region.
President Kais Saied in July last year sacked the government and suspended the Ennahdha-dominated parliament in a move opponents have called a coup in the only democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
He later dissolved the assembly, extended his powers over the judiciary and moved to change the constitution.
Saied is under intense criticism from the opposition for excluding it from a national dialogue on a new constitution that he plans to put to a referendum one year on, on July 25.
The opposition, including Ennahdha and human rights groups, accuse him of seeking to adopt a text tailored to his needs.
Jebali, a solar engineer and former journalist, was sentenced to 16 years behind bars under long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled in the 2011 revolution.
He served a large part of his sentence in an isolation cell before being pardoned in 2006.


Two dead as forest fires spread in north Algeria

Two dead as forest fires spread in north Algeria
Updated 14 sec ago

Two dead as forest fires spread in north Algeria

Two dead as forest fires spread in north Algeria

ALGIERS: Two people died and several others were injured in forest fires that were burning in 14 districts of northern Algeria on Wednesday, the emergency services said.
“Two women, a 58-year-old mother and her 31-year-old daughter, died in fires in Setif” where flames reached many homes and villages, said the civil protection agency in the northeastern city.
In Souk Ahras, farther to the east near Algeria’s border with Tunisia, people were seen fleeing their homes as fires spread before firefighting helicopters were deployed.
Four people in Souk Ahras suffered burns and 41 others had breathing difficulties, the authorities said. Media reports said 350 residents had been evacuated.
“Thirty-nine fires are underway in 14 wilayas (administrative councils),” the civil protection agency said, noting that El Tarf, also bordering Tunisia, was the worst hit with 16 fires in progress.
Wildfires have claimed the lives of six people in Algeria so far this summer.
Algeria is Africa’s largest country but it only has 4.1 million hectares (10.1 million acres) of forest.
Each year the north of the country is affected by forest fires, a problem that has worsened due to climate change.
Last year, at least 90 people died in forest fires that ravaged northern Algeria, destroying more than 100,000 hectares of woodland.


UAE ranks 6th worldwide in InterNations expat survey

UAE ranks 6th worldwide in InterNations expat survey
Updated 17 August 2022

UAE ranks 6th worldwide in InterNations expat survey

UAE ranks 6th worldwide in InterNations expat survey
  • Emirates records top results in 4 out of 5 key pillars in this year’s report

ABU DHABI: The UAE has been ranked as the sixth best destination in the world for expatriates in 2022, according to InterNations.

In the annual Expat Insider survey, the German research firm examines every aspect of the expat experience in 181 countries.

The firm’s rankings are based on a range of factors, including language, bureaucracy, professional prospects, leisure options, travel, transport, job satisfaction, safety, healthcare, digital life, housing, wages and job safety, InterNations said.

This “Expat Insider 2022” report included the overall rankings of expatriate destination countries in terms of quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, personal finance and the availability of basic essentials.

Mexico was ranked first in 2022, followed by Indonesia, Taiwan, Portugal, and Spain.

While ranking sixth overall, UAE also ranked highly in four out of five key pillars and 11 out of 17 indexes.

It revealed that 94 percent of those surveyed felt safe in the UAE, while 86 percent were satisfied with the available government services.

Furthermore, 90 percent of respondents said that they can use cashless payments in the UAE.

Regarding health, 78 percent of respondents emphasized the ease of access to healthcare services in the country, while 79 percent of those surveyed said that living in the UAE improved their professional prospects.

About 85 percent of those polled said that not knowing the local language was not a barrier, and 83 percent of people said that administrative procedures are “simple and straightforward.”

The survey also found that 75 percent of people said the process of finding housing in the UAE was simple.

Lastly, 83 percent respondents said that it was simple to apply for a resident visa, making the UAE the world leader in this area.

 


Lebanese woman set on fire by husband in row over unwanted pregnancy dies in hospital

Lebanese woman set on fire by husband in row over unwanted pregnancy dies in hospital
Updated 17 August 2022

Lebanese woman set on fire by husband in row over unwanted pregnancy dies in hospital

Lebanese woman set on fire by husband in row over unwanted pregnancy dies in hospital
  • Hana Mohammed Khodor, 21, spent 11 days in intensive care being treated for burns to her entire body
  • Husband arrested as he was planning to flee the country

DUBAI: A pregnant Lebanese woman who was badly beaten and set on fire by her husband because she would not have an abortion died in hospital on Wednesday.
Hana Mohammed Khodor, 21, lost her fight for life at Al-Salam Hospital in northern Lebanon where she had been for the past 11 days.
A doctor from the hospital said on Tuesday that Khodor was admitted on Aug. 6 and had been receiving treatment for burns to her entire body.
He added that her unborn child died in the womb and had to be surgically removed, and described Khodor’s chances of survival as “very bleak.”
A family friend, Abdul Rahman Haddad, told Arab News that Khodor died on Wednesday. A hospital official confirmed the news and said her body had already been claimed by her family.
According to local media reports, Khodor’s husband, identified only by the initials A. A., beat his wife because she refused to abort their unborn child.
He was reported to have said the couple — who came from a poor background in the northern city of Tripoli — could not afford to raise it.
Speaking to Al-Jadeed TV on Tuesday, Khodor’s aunt said: “When she refused to abort the baby, he took her home and set her on fire using the gas cylinder.”
Haddad said A. A. had been arrested by Lebanese Internal Security Forces as he was planning to flee the country.
Prior to her death, Khodor’s family made several appeals for financial support to help pay for her hospital treatment, which included multiple operations and blood transfusions.
 


Iraqi PM calls meeting of senior politicians to end crisis

Iraqi PM calls meeting of senior politicians to end crisis
Updated 17 August 2022

Iraqi PM calls meeting of senior politicians to end crisis

Iraqi PM calls meeting of senior politicians to end crisis
  • The absence of al-Sadr's bloc effectively undermined Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi's effort to resolve the 10-month crisis
  • Al-Sadr and his political rivals, the Iran-backed Shiite groups, have been at odds since after last year's parliamentary elections

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s caretaker prime minister called a meeting of senior political leaders and party representatives Wednesday, seeking a way out of a monthslong crisis amid a power struggle between rival Shiite blocs. But the party of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr did not attend the gathering.
The absence of Al-Sadr’s bloc effectively undermined Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s effort to resolve the 10-month crisis.
Al-Sadr and his political rivals, the Iran-backed Shiite groups, have been at odds since after last year’s parliamentary elections. Al-Sadr won the largest share of seats in the October vote but failed to form a majority government.
His bloc later resigned from parliament and his supporters last month stormed the parliament building in Baghdad. Al-Sadr has demanded that parliament be dissolved and early elections held.
Leaders of Iran-backed Shiite groups, Iraq’s Sunni and Kurdish political blocs, and the head of the country’s High Judicial Council attended Wednesday’s meeting, as did the UN special representative, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.
After the meeting, a statement from Al-Kadhimi’s office said the discussions focused on possible solutions to the political crisis, prioritizing the maintaining of peace among Iraqis. Al-Sadr last Wednesday gave the judiciary a week to dissolve the legislature, to which it responded saying it has no authority to dissolve parliament.
On Saturday, he called on his followers to be ready to hold massive protests all over Iraq but then indefinitely postponed them after Iran-backed groups called for similar rallies the same day, saying he wants to preserve peace and that “Iraqi blood is invaluable” to him.
Al-Sadr’s Shiite rivals from the Coordination Framework, an alliance of Iran-backed parties, said earlier that parliament would have to convene to dissolve itself.


Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians
Updated 17 August 2022

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians
  • Iran called on President Joe Biden’s administration to “act instead of performing theatrical shows”

DUBAI: Iran is ready to swap prisoners with the United States, its foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on Wednesday, calling on President Joe Biden’s administration to “act instead of performing theatrical shows.”
Tehran has sought the release of over a dozen Iranians in the United States, including seven Iranian-American dual nationals, two Iranians with permanent US residency and four Iranian citizens with no legal status in the United States.
“We are ready to swap prisoners with Washington ... The US must release jailed Iranian citizens without any conditions,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani as saying.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that Siamak Namazi had now spent 2,500 days “wrongfully detained” in Iran and Washington was determined to secure the freedom of all Americans held by its Middle East adversary.
Kanaani spoke as Tehran and Washington sought to revive a 2015 nuclear pact after lengthy negotiations. The European Union and United States said on Tuesday they were studying Iran’s response to what the EU has called its “final” proposal to save the deal, after Tehran called on Washington to show flexibility.