#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 11°C Thursday 13 May 2021
Advertisement

Tunisian ex-president sentenced to jail

Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi were convicted in absentia.

A demonstrator holds a poster showing Ben Ali outside the Tunis Criminal Court which is hearing two embezzlement, money laundering and drug trafficking cases against Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
A demonstrator holds a poster showing Ben Ali outside the Tunis Criminal Court which is hearing two embezzlement, money laundering and drug trafficking cases against Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Image: Hassene Dridi/AP/Press Association Images

THE FORMER PRESIDENT of Tunisia, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, and his wife Leila Trabelsi have been sentenced in absentia to 35 years in jail.

The couple received the sentence for embezzlement and the misuse of public funds.

The case centred on $27 million (€18.97 million) worth of cash and jewels that was reported to be found inside one of their palaces.

A second case was taken against Ben Ali (74) in relation to the possession of drugs and weapons. This was postponed.

The ex-president was fined 50 million dinars (about $36 million) and his wife was fined 41 million dinars.

The jewels that were found in their palace were aid to have historic value.

Ben Ali called the case a “shameful masquerade of the justice of the victorious” and emphasised that he had devoted his life to his country.

He and his wife’s family, the Trabelsi clan, have been accused of treating Tunisia as their personal property to amass money, privilege and power.

The husband and wife fled to Saudi Arabia in January.

More serious charges, including plotting against the security of the state and murder, will be dealt with at future trials.

Judicial authorities say that Ben Ali and his entourage are implicated in 93 civil affaires and 182 others that fall under military jurisdiction.

He is expected to have to answer for the deaths of 300 people during the uprisings.

Monday’s trial included, for the first time, TV cameras in the packed courtroom.

Today, the former leader insisted he was “tricked” into leaving the country, saying he intended to return on the same plane after dropping his family to Saudi Arabia but the pilot disobeyed orders.

- AP

Read more:  Ben Ali goes on trial>

About the author:

Mary

Read next:

COMMENTS (2)