Tunisia: Nabil Karoui Arrested Under Detention Order and Taken to Civil Prison of Mornaguia (Interior + Court of Appeal)

Nabil Karoui, a contenders in the September 15 presidential race in Tunisia.

Tunis/Tunisia — Nabil Karoui, owner of Nessma TV, chairman of the "Heart of Tunisia" party and candidate in the early presidential election, has been arrested, under an arrest warrant issued against him by a chamber of the Court of Appeal of Tunis, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Friday.

Nabil Karoui was arrested on Friday by a brigade of the General Directorate of National Security at the Tunis-Beja highway, the source added.

After showing him the arrest warrant at his request, Nabil Karoui obeyed and was taken by security units to the Mornaguia civil prison, the statement added.

Nessma TV had announced that Nabil Karoui was arrested by an "unknown security unit", stating that no contact could be established with his brother and campaign director Ghazi Karoui.

Organisation "I Watch" had filed a complaint with the Judicial, Economic and Financial Division against the Karoui brothers on September 2, 2016 over suspected money laundering through their companies in Morocco, Algeria and Luxembourg.

The Prosecutor at the Judicial Division had initiated an investigation following this complaint and decided to charge Nabil Karoui and Ghazi Karoui with several counts, including money laundering.

The investigating judge in charge of the case had decided on July 8, 2019 preventive measures against the Karoui brothers, including banning them from travel and freezing their assets.

On July 23, Nabil Karoui was heard by the Senior Magistrate of the Judicial Division for eight hours on the same case.

Tunis Court of Appeal spokesperson Sabeur Horchani told TAP the indictment chamber in charge of financial corruption at the court met on Friday to examine the complaint lodged by I Watch against the Karoui brothers and decided to issue two detention orders against them.

The Indictment Division also decided to reject the request to lift the ban on travel and the freezing of their assets presented by the defense lawyers.

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