TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A Tunisian court has sentenced former President Moncef Marzouki in absentia to four years in prison for “undermining the external security of the state,” according to the state TAP news agency.
Marzouki had urged France to end its support for Tunisia, calling current President Kaïs Saied a “dictator.”
Citing an “imminent peril” to the country in the midst of an economic and health crisis, Saied froze parliament and sacked the prime minister in July, giving himself wide powers. Marzouki has repeatedly called for Saied’s dismissal and described him as a “coup leader.”
The statements by the former president angered Saied, who said those seeking intervention from foreign parties were “traitors to the nation.”
Saied announced he was withdrawing Marzouki’s diplomatic passport in October. Tunisia issued an international warrant for his arrest on accusations that he undermined the North African country’s security.
Marzouki came to power after the 2010-2011 Tunisian uprising that overthrew an autocratic leader and unleashed the Arab Spring. He left office in 2014.
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