Sami Fehri, TV producer and director of Ettounsiya Television, detained for about 3 months under corruption charges, was not released yesterday as expected.
According to Adel Riahi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, the expectations were based on a misinterpretation of the court of appeals’ decision.
“The court of appeals did not announce that Fehri will be released. Even though it overturned the decision of the indictment chamber, this does not mean that Fehri is to be freed,” Riahi said.
Both of Fehri’s lawyers were shocked by the news.
Abdelaziz Essid, the attorney who is in charge of Fehri’s case, said, “According to legal procedure, when the court of appeals nullifies a decision, the case would go back to its initial state,” in which Fehri would not be detained.
“I do not find any logical explanation to what is going on. Any further minute in prison is illegal,” Essid said. “The most proper procedure is to release Fehri immediately.”
The surprise comes on the heels of a personal feud between Fehri and Minister of Justice Noureddine Bhiri.
Fehri’s laywers claimed this week that Bhiri’s wife, Saida Akremi, who is also the president of the Association of Political Prisoners, visited Fehri in his cell Monday night to criticize his channel.
The Ministry of Justice denied the claim, explaining that Akremi visited the prison on Monday to meet Salafi detainees who were on a hunger strike.
“It is a big lie, and it never happened because Akremi did not stay there until the night,” Riahi said.