Tunisian justice minister sacked over 'differences'

2015-10-20 21:29
New Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid. (Hassene Dridi, AP)

New Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid. (Hassene Dridi, AP)

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Tunis - Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid announced on Tuesday that he had dismissed Justice Minister Salah Ben Aissa, without saying why.

But Ben Aissa said there were unspecified political differences between the two of them, and that he had been preparing his resignation when he got the sack.

Late last month, Ben Aissa made a controversial call for scrapping an article of the penal code that stipulates jail terms of up to three years for men and women engaging in homosexual acts.

"My problem is Article 230... Nothing can justify infringement on private life," he said, reacting to a call by Human Rights Watch for a student jailed for homosexuality to be freed and the article repealed.

The premier's Facebook page carried an announcement on Tuesday that Essid had "decided to dismiss" Ben Aissa from his post, but did not say why.

The government spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Ben Aissa, a professor and former dean of the law faculty in Tunis, told AFP there were "differences over the way to work".

"Something happened in recent days. There was a big disagreement [with the premier], and this decision followed. I was asked to do something I could not do."

"My resignation was ready in my office, but Essid's decision was quicker."

Read more on:    salah ben aissa  |  habib essid  |  tunisia  |  north africa

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