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Tunisia court orders release of presidential candidate Nabil Karoui

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A Tunisian appeals court on Wednesday freed presidential candidate Nabil Karoui days before Sunday's second-round runoff election, his lawyer told Reuters.

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Karoui, a media mogul, was detained in August before the first round of the election and has spent the entire campaign period in prison pending a verdict in his trial for money laundering and tax evasion, which he denies.

"The appeals court has decided to immediately free Nabil Karoui," lawyer Kamal Ben Massoud said without elaborating.

"His release saved our transition and the situation at the last moment … We were in a very difficult moment in Tunisia which really threatened Tunisian democracy," Karoui's spokesman Hatem Mliki said.

Last week, interim president Mohamed Ennaceur said Karoui's detention and inability to campaign had damaged the credibility of the election. Election watchdogs had also called for his release saying there could be no fair vote if he was detained.

Tunisia's electoral commission has itself warned that Karoui could appeal against the result if he loses as he has been denied equal opportunity to communicate with voters, and that the result could be annRead More – Source

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