Death Sentence for former Tunisian President?
TUNIS, Tunisia: Former Tunisian President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, who has been charged in absentia with ordering the killings of anti-government demonstrators and was forced to quit office, could be given the death sentence in a court in his country. Ben Ali has been living in exile in Saudi Arabia since the January 2011 uprising that swept his country. State news agency Tunis Afrique Presse reported that prosecutors asked a court to impose death sentence on Ben Ali. He is being tried in absentia in the deaths of dozens of anti-government protesters.
Former Interior Minister Rafik Kacem and many other former officials are also likely to get “maximum” sentence short of death, according to TAP. Meanwhile, Ben Ali’s exiled brother-in-law has voiced regret for participating in the old dictatorship and has announced he is ready to face trial in domestic courts.
“I have written this letter to apologise, even if I know that in the eyes of many Tunisians, if not all of them, I am unfairly considered a criminal who looted the country before fleeing abroad,” Belhassen Trabelsi wrote in an open letter.
Trabelsi is thought to have headed a clan that embezzled government funds.
“If I made mistakes I am prepared to offer an account and appear before the courts, even if I never had the intention of harming my country or my people,” said Trabelsi, the brother of Ben Ali’s wife Leila.
He has also claimed that he invested his fortune in the country, creating around 4,000 jobs.
Trabelsi fled to Montreal after the uprising in January 2011. The Tunisian authorities have asked Ottawa to arrest him.