Tunisian media mogul and former presidential candidate Nabil Karoui has been released from jail after spending six months in detention.
Earlier, Karoui’s lawyer, Nazih Saoui, said that a court of cassation* ruled on June 15 to free him while he continues to face trial for alleged money laundering and tax evasion.
On June 7, Karoui’s lawyer said the detained mogul launched a hunger strike to protest his continued “illegal” detention.
Karoui refused to sign a document acknowledging the extension of his pre-sentencing detention while meeting with a judge overseeing his case.
His lawyer had further challenged the legality of the extension, insisting that by law his client should have been released in April, Middle East Eye reported.
Karoui was the 2019 presidential candidate of the Qalb Tounes Party (Heart of Tunisia). The party was established in 2019 by Tunisian lawyer Houda Kanani and is the country’s second-biggest party in parliament. Karoui came second place in the 2019 elections after losing in a landslide to now-President Kais Saied.
In December 2020, Karoui was jailed on money laundering and tax evasion charges, as he was found guilty of “financial corruption” but has yet to receive a sentence.
Last week, Qalb Tounes Party Chairman Osama Khelifi told reporters that recourse to international courts will be the party’s next step to end what he considers the “political detention” of its president.
Karoui plays a significant role in Tunisian media. He is the CEO of Karoui & Karoui World, which owns 50 percent of Nessma TV. The Tunisia-based commercial TV station targets Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Mauritania. It is 25-percent owned by the Italian company Mediaset, which is linked to Italian politician and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi.