Former Tunisia presidential candidate Nabil Karoui hospitalized after launching hunger strike

TUNIS, TUNISIA - OCTOBER 11 : Tunisian presidential candidate and leader of Heart of Tunisia Nabil Karoui before a televised debate with Independent Tunisian presidential candidate Kais Saied (not seen) before the second round of the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia on October 11, 2019. (Photo by Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Tunisian media mogul and former presidential candidate Nabil Karoui is in the hospital being treated for conditions related to a hunger strike.

Karoui launched his hunger strike on Saturday in protest of his continued pre-trial detention. On Monday, A doctor asked that Mr. Karoui be transferred to the hospital because of his state of health, judicial official Mohsen Dali told AFP.

According to the party, Karoui has been held “illegally” since the maximum period of pre-trial detention, which is six months in Tunisia, expired on 5 May and can only be extended by the decision of a judge. But a suspect has the right of appeal.

Prosecuted in 2017 in a case of money laundering and tax fraud, Nabil Karoui was arrested in 2019. He had then spent more than a month in prison in the middle of the electoral campaign, which had led to fears of an instrumentalization of justice.

Released, he was arrested again last December and has been in pre-trial detention since then for the same case.

Karoui ran for president in 2019 with a focus on anti-Islamism and reducing poverty. He lost to Kaïs Saied, an academic and political novice, against a backdrop of rejection of the ruling elites since the 2011 revolution.

Karoui, 57, is the founder of private channel Nessma TV, partly owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

(Reporting by Africa News)

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