A military court in Tunisia issued varying prison sentences against five former parliamentarians in the “airport incident” case.
Lawyer Enas Al-Harath, said that “the Military Court of Appeal sentenced the head of the Dignity Coalition bloc (18 MPs in the dissolved parliament out of 217), Saif El-Din Makhlouf, to a year and two months in prison, 11 months to Mahdi Zaqrouba (from the same bloc), while banning them from practicing the legal profession.
“The military court also sentenced the MP in the Dignity Coalition bloc, Nidal Saudi, to 7 months in prison, and Maher Zaid and Mohamed Al-Afas to 5 months in prison for each. The court did not hear the appeal of Abdul Latif Al-Alawi, of the same bloc,” she added.
Al-Harath also said that “the verdicts are final. It is cruel and unfair, especially that it’s issued by a military court.”
She added, “We will continue to defend our fellow lawyers and MPs of the Dignity Coalition bloc who reject the coup, and neither military courts nor others will stop us.”
On March 15, 2021, Carthage International Airport in the capital, Tunis, witnessed a quarrel between airport security personnel and two lawyers and deputies in the Dignity Coalition, after the lawyers attempted to defend a female passenger who was banned from leaving the country for security reasons under the “S17” code. This code was used during the era of former President Zein El Abidine Ben Ali against opponents and accuse them of terrorism.
The MP, Saif El-Din Makhlouf, had confirmed previously that members of the opposition Dignity Coalition are being targeted by the current Tunisian President, Kais Saied, who took the decision to arbitrarily arrest a number of MPs and try them before military courts after stripping them of their parliamentary immunity.
Since July 25, when Saeed imposed exceptional measures, including freezing the powers of parliament, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, dismissing the prime minister, and appointing new ones.
Following the announcement of these exceptional measures, journalists and media organisations in Tunisia have been subjected to harassment, security prosecutions, arrests, and judicial follow-ups due to their activities.