Tunisia’s ex-Dictator Ben Ali Sentenced to Life in Prison
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Ben Ali received the life sentence in abstentia for involvement in the murdering of 43 protesters and wounding 97 others before he was toppled by a popular revolt last February, a judge for the Tunis military court said on Thursday.
Hedi Ayari said the former dictator was tried with around 40 of his former officials, including the former head of presidential security, General Ali Seriati, who received a 20-year prison term.
Former Interior Minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem was sentenced to 15 years, while charges were dropped against Ahmed Friaa, who was named interior minister shortly before Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2011.
The ousted dictator has already been sentenced in his absence to a number of heavy sentences.
Ben Ali has been sentenced to more than 66 years in prison in three separate trials, for charges including embezzlement, illegal possession of weapons and narcotics, housing fraud and abuse of power.
According to United Nations figures, more than 300 people were killed and many others wounded in the former government crackdown on protests over corruption, unemployment, and high food prices.
Many of the victims died by live rounds fired by security forces during the January 2011 pro-democracy protests.
Saudi Arabia has refused to hand over Ben Ali and his wife to Tunisian authorities despite the fact that they are the subject of an international arrest warrant.