Tunisia Begins Trial Against Former President

Published on Monday 20th June 2011

Tunisia began a trial in absentia Monday of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who is facing charges including conspiring against the state, voluntary manslaughter and drug trafficking.Ben Ali and his entourage are facing more than 90 cases.  Officials say he will be tried in a military and a civilian court.  He has denied all charges against him, and said he never had the huge sums of money he is alleged to have possessed.Ben Ali is in Saudi Arabia, after fleeing from Tunisia in January amid mass protests against his 23-year rule.  Saudi officials have not responded to Tunisian requests to extradite him and his wife, Leila Trabelsi.Many Tunisians say they believe the former president and his family improperly amassed large fortunes.  Protesters looted and set fire to dozens of the family's businesses and luxurious villas during the January uprising.



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