A Tunisian appeals court on Friday rejected a request by presidential candidate Nabil Karoui to be released from detention pending the verdict in his trial for tax fraud and money laundering, his lawyer said.
“He will remain in prison,” the media mogul’s lawyer Kamel Ben Massoud said. Karoui denies wrongdoing and says the case is politically motivated, NAN reports.
He is one of 26 candidates contesting Sunday’s first-round vote in the presidential election, with a run-off between the two who get most votes scheduled to take place on Oct. 13.
Karoui’s supporters have accused powerful rival politicians of trying to silence him, saying they are seeking to stop a campaign that has criticised the government over poverty.
His opponents say Karoui has improperly used his unlicensed television station and his charity for his own personal political advantage.
The vote for the early presidential election began on Friday in the six constituencies installed abroad.
The first polling centre opened to voters in Sidney, Australia this morning at 8 a.m. local time (2200 GMT), Farouk Bouasker, vice president of the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE), confirmed to the local press.
This polling centre will host 203 registered voters in Australia, according to a video broadcast by the ISIE on its official page.
The last oversea polling centre to open is in San Francisco, the U.S.
According to the ISIE, 302 voting centres have been set up to accommodate about 386,053 registered voters from 44 countries.
The majority of the voters are aged between 26 and 45