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February 2, 2023

Ben Ali trial in absentia begins

The trial in absentia of ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has begun, a day after the former leader denied all charges against him, BBC News said. Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January following a popular rising. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on various charges, including corruption and drug trafficking. His lawyers said the trial was an attempt by Tunisia’s interim government to divert attention from their failure to restore stability in the country.

The Saudi authorities have yet to respond to an extradition request from Tunisia for Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, and there seems little likelihood of them being brought to justice in person.

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