Nabil Karoui has reached a run-off in Tunisia's presidential election despite being in jail

A presidential candidate in Tunisia who reached the final stage of the election is set to remain in custody after failing to win an appeal to be freed.

Nabil Karoui, 56, was detained last month on charges of money laundering and tax fraud, which he denies.

The media mogul was still able to stand despite his arrest but he was not allowed to vote. He reached the run-off vote which is expected next month.

On Wednesday, a judge refused to rule on whether or not he would be released.

The judge said the matter was not in his jurisdiction. It is the third time he has had an appeal turned down.

It means Mr Karoui, who began a hunger strike earlier this month to demand his freedom, will remain in jail.

His lawyer, Kamel Ben Messoud, told AFP news agency his client would challenge the court’s decision.

Mr Karoui has never held political office. He founded a charity focused on fighting poverty and that issue has been a central theme of his campaign.

But critics have accused him of using the charity and his TV channel to further his political ambitions.

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