Court of Appeal orders release of UN expert Moncef Kartas
21/05/2019 16:16, TUNIS/Tunisia

(APT) – Indictment division No. 34 at Tunis Court of Appeal, on Tuesday, ordered the release of UN expert Moncef Kartas, accused of espionage.

The UN expert would leave Mornaguia prison in the next few hours, said member of the defence group, Mohamed Mannoubi Ferchichi.

Mr Ferchichi informed TAP on the phone that the defence group had asked the investigating judge, in April, to release Moncef Kartas because of the absence of evidence of the crime.

The judge did not respond after the time limits, pushing the defence lawyers group to file a second application to the Indictment Division at the Court of Appeal, which decided his release on Tuesday, said the lawyer.

“The court of appeal also referred the case of Moncef Kartas to the investigating judge to complete the investigation,” he added, affirming that the case is not closed yet.

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Tunisia Diego Zorrilla had called, in mid-May, on the Tunisian authorities to “release the UN investigator Moncef Kartas and return to him the technical equipment he was in possession of at the moment of his arrest.”

The Interior Ministry had announced in March that the specialised units arrested two Tunisians suspected of espionage.

Moncef Kartas was arrested after a surveillance that began in 2018, in coordination with the public prosecutor at the Court of First Instance of Tunis.

Spokesperson for the Judicial Counter-Terrorism Division Sofiene Sliti said UN expert Moncef Kartas “does not have immunity.”

The UN expert suspected of espionage “cannot benefit from immunity since the case against him concerns personal interests.” Sliti had told TAP.

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