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Tunis - The Tunisian justice ministry has sacked 81 magistrates over suspicions of graft and their links to the ousted regime of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
“It has become imperative to end this situation which taints the honour, dignity and integrity of the judiciary,” said the ministry in a statement issued Saturday.
The magistrates, whose identities were not revealed, are accused of having “obeyed orders and dabbled in embezzlements, while handing down rulings in violation of the law to protect personal interests,” said Justice Minister Nourredine Bhiri in an interview Sunday with newspaper Achourouk.
He added that those affected were a minority and that most of the country's 2 000 magistrates were upright.
The magistrates union on Sunday expressed surprise at the decision.
“This procedure does not allow those who have been fired to defend themselves,” noted the union's chief Raouda Laabidi, quoted by TAP news agency.
Under Ben Ali's regime, the judiciary and the press operated under the orders of the executive, particularly on political cases.
Ben Ali was toppled last January last year by a popular uprising in the country which also triggered the Arab Spring. - Sapa-AFP