Tunisian security forces place prominent judge under house arrest

TUNIS (Reuters) - A Tunisian judge who has been accused by human rights groups of hiding terrorism-related files has been placed under house arrest for 40 days, local radio and a security source said on Saturday.

The move against Judge Bechir Akremi came after President Kais Saied pledged to lead a campaign against corruption in all sectors, following his dismissal this week of the prime minister and freezing of parliament.

Right activists in Tunisia see Akremi as symbolizing corruption in the judiciary, saying he is close to the Ennahda moderate Islamist party, the biggest party in parliament.

Lawyers and secular parties said files he allegedly hid include those related to the assassination of two secular leaders Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi in 2013, which led to massive protests at the time that ended with the overthrow of the government.

Akremi has not commented on these accusations and was not immediately available to comment on Saturday.

Ennahda rejects accusations that it has ties to the judge or that it has interfered in judicial files.

Tunisia has been thrust into a political crisis by Saied's action on Sunday. Ennahda and other major parties have accused the president of a coup, which he denies.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry)

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