Tunisia’s former presidential candidate was arrested in


The runner-up in Tunisia’s 2019 presidential election, Liberal Party leader Nabil Karoui and his legislative brother were arrested in Algeria, the media reported on Monday.

The privately owned Radio Mosaique FM said border police arrested Qalb Tounes, also known as “the heart of Tunisia”, party leader and his brother Ghazi Karoui in the Tebessa region of northeastern Algeria.

High-ranking official Oussama Khelifi told reporters that “official information” was still expected.

The brothers’ arrest has not yet been confirmed by the authorities in any of the countries.

“We have not heard from Karoui in a week,” Khelifi said.

Riadh al-Nouioui, a spokesman for the Kasserine court in central Tunisia, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that “authorities are investigating two people suspected of helping the Karoui brothers escape” to Algeria.

Nabil Karoui founded the private Tunisian channel Nessma TV, which is partly owned by Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Karoui has been investigated since 2017 in a case of money laundering and tax evasion.

He was arrested in 2019 and spent more than a month in jail at the height of the presidential election campaign.

He was released but arrested in December last year and detained for six months before being released again in June 2021.

Karoui’s presidential campaign focused on the fight against poverty and his opposition policies, despite allying with the Ennahdha party.

He lost Kais Saied, a retired law professor and political newcomer, as voters rejected the political class that had ruled since the 2011 revolution.

On 25 July, Saied dismissed Parliament, dismissed the Prime Minister and gave himself sweeping powers, invoking the Constitution as a justification.

Since then, there has been a wave of travel bans and house arrests targeting parliamentarians, magistrates and businessmen in a purge against corruption that has raised fears of a reduction in freedoms.


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