Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Former President Ben Ali and his wife sentenced to 35 years in prison

Former Tunisian President Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, were sentenced in absentia Monday, June 20, thirty-five years in prison each, in a trial where he was prosecuted for embezzlement of public funds. A verdict called "joke" by counsel for Mr. Ben Ali.

Judge Touhami Hafi said that these penalties are severe with fines of 50 million dinars for the former president and 41 million Tunisian dinars for Mrs. Ben Ali. This decision followed the discovery in a palace in Sidi Bou Sai huge amounts of money and jewelry prices. Public television had shown impressive wads of dinars and foreign currency stacked in a huge safe, evoking images of "Aladdin's cave". The former head of state, a refugee in Saudi Arabia, is also charged with illegal possession of drugs, arms and archaeological objects.

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