Tunisian Court Hands Suspended Jail Term to Opposition Figure Chaima Issa 

Tunis — A Tunisian military court on Wednesday sentenced opposition figure Chaima Issa to a one-year suspended prison sentence for “offending” President Kais Saied, her lawyers said.   

Issa, 43, was found guilty of causing offence to Saied, spreading rumors to harm public security and inciting soldiers to disobey orders, her lawyer Dalila Ben Mbarek said in a Facebook post.    

Issa, a member of the National Salvation Front coalition, said after a court hearing Tuesday that Saied’s opponents were being treated like “criminals.”  

“We are not criminals,” she said. “We are not plotters. We are not traitors. We are politicians, opponents of the coup of July 25” 2021.   

Saied, who was democratically elected in October 2019, assumed sweeping powers in July 2021 and has since had the constitution revised to substantially weaken parliament.   

Issa was arrested in February 2023 as part of a crackdown on Tunisia’s opposition. She was released in July with her trial pending.   

Samir Dilou, a member of Issa’s defense team, condemned her court appearance on Tuesday “under the famous decree 54, which penalizes false information.”  

“It’s dangerous,” he told AFPTV.   

“She should have never been prosecuted for expressing her opinions, nor tried by a military court,” Salsabil Chellali of Human Rights Watch said on X, formerly Twitter, following Issa’s suspended sentence.   

Since February, more than 20 Tunisian political opponents, businessmen and others, deemed “terrorists” by Saied, have been jailed over an alleged “plot against internal security.”  


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