Tunisia: Former Presidential Advisor Faces Military Trial Over Army Criticism

Ayoub Massoudi, a former advisor to Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, faces a military trial over his declarations regarding the extradition of former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmoudi (under Gaddafi).

Fearing that Mahmoudi would not get a fair trial in Libya, President Moncef Marzouki had opposed the extradition. Yet, the government presided over by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali sent Mahmoudi back home on June 24, 2012, without notifying the president who on that same day was touring the south of Tunisia, accompanied by Rachid Ammar [Chief of Staff of the Tunisian Armed Forces] and Abdelkrim Zbidi [Minister of Defence].

In a televised interview, dated July 15, and aired on the privately-owned Attounisia TV channel, Massoudi described the extradition process as a “treason against the State”, because Ammar and Zbidi who “were aware of the extradition, its time, and all of its circumstances… did not utter a word, and did not inform the President who is the Commander-in-Chief.”

"Freedom to Ayaoub Massoudi" "the military is not a red line" photo via Nawaat.org

“Freedom to Ayaoub Massoudi” “the military is not a red line” photo via Nawaat.org

Following a complaint lodged against him by General Rachid Ammar, Ayoub Massoudi faces charges of “harming the army's dignity, reputation, and morale” and “accusing without proof a public officer.


Although Ayoub is not behind bars, a travel ban was imposed on him. On August 16, authorities at the Tunis Carthage Airport prevented him from boarding a plane to join his family in Paris.

Chayma Mehdi tweets [fr]:

#AyoubMassouadi n'a pas été arrêté certes, n’empêche #FreeAyoub. Parce-qu’on est censé être libre de quitté ou non notre pays.

Ayoub Massoudi was certainly not arrested. Yet, #FreeAyoub, bacause we are supposed to be free to leave our country or not

Malek Khadhraoui, editor-in-chief of Nawaat.org, reports [fr]:

Ayoub Massoudi n'a reçu aucune notification au sujet de la plainte déposée contre lui par l'armée

Ayoub Massoudi did not receive any notification about the complaint lodged against him by the army

“Treason against the State” not “High Treason”

The award-winning collective blog Nawaat.org obtained a copy of General Ammar's testimony in Massoudi's case. Ramzi Bettibi (aka Winston Smith) reports [ar]:

يعترف الفريق أوّل رشيد عمّار أثناء إستجوابه في صدر شهادته أنّه كان على علم بقرار تسليم البغدادي المحمودي و أنّه لم يُبلغ بذلك رئيس الجمهوريّة.من جهة أخرى يظهر جليّا الخطأ الذي وقع فيه المُشتكي… إذ يزعم الجنرال عمّار الجنرال عمّار أنّه وُجّهت له تهمة “الخيانة العظمى” في حين أنّ المسعودي وجّه ولوزير الدفاع قبله تهمة “خيانة دولة”.
During the interrogation, General Rachid Ammar admitted in his testimony that he had been aware about the decision to extradite Baghdadi Mahmoudi, and did not inform the President. On the other hand, the mistake committed by the plaintiff is obvious…Gen. Ammar claims that he was accused [by Massoudi during the televised interview] of “high treason”, while Massoudi accused him and the Defense Minister of “treason against the State”

Bettibi adds:

محضر تأدية شهادة الجنرال رشيد عمّار باطل قانونا حسب مُحامي الدفاع نظرا لعدم تأديته القَسم قبل الإدلاء بشهادته، فهل مُنع المستشار السابق في رئاسة الجمهورية أيّوب المسعودي من السفر و الإلتحاق بعائلته في فرنسا أثناء عيد الفطر بسبب إجراء باطلٍ قانوناً ؟
According to a lawyer, Gen. Rachid Ammar's testimony is legally invalid because he did not take oath before testifying. Was the former Presidential advisor Ayoub Massoudi prevented from traveling, and joining his family in France for Eid festivities because of a legally invalid procedure?

Trial to resume next week

Protest staged outside the Tunis Military Court in support of Massoudi. Photo via Nawaat.

Protest staged outside the Tunis Military Court in support of Massoudi. Photo via Nawaat.

On August 22, the second hearing in Massoudi's case took place at the Tunis based Permanent Military Court. The trial will resume on August 30. Nawaat reports [fr] on its Facebook page:

#freeayoub La deuxième audition de Ayoub Massoudi vient de s'achever. Le juge d'instruction militaire a décidé d'une 3e audition le 30 août 2012. Ayoub Massoudi y comparaîtra libre mais demeure sous le coup de l'interdiction de voyager

The second hearing of Ayoub Massoudi has just come to an end. The investigating magistrate scheduled a third hearing for August 30, 2012. Massoudi will appear free before court, but he is still under a travel ban

Ayoub Massoudi resignation

It is worth mentioning that Ayoub Massoudi resigned on June 28, after serving as President Marzouki's top media advisor for ten months. The decision came in protest at what Massoudi described as his “exclusion” from decision-making in the presidential cabinet.

He announced his resignation on his blog in a post [fr] entitled “Je suis enfin libre” (Free at last). He wrote:

C'est en toute liberté et sans aucune contrainte ou pression que j'annonce cette démission, motivée par le respect immense que je voue à la Révolution tunisienne, aux martyrs, à l'Etat, aux tunisiens et à tous les contribuables qui payent mon salaire pour un métier que je n'exerce pas dans les faits. Pourtant, dieu sait combien j'ai essayé.

Motivated by the immense respect I hold in regard to the Tunisian Revolution, the State, to Tunisians and all the taxpayers who pay my salary for a job I do not really do, I announce my resignation, with complete freedom, and without any constraint and pressure. Yet, God knows how much I tried


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