Ben Ali denounces conviction

2011-06-22 13:18
Paris - Ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Tuesday denounced his "legally insane" 35-year jail sentence for embezzling public funds, his Paris-based lawyer said.

Ben Ali said that "after less than two hours of hearings... the court [in Tunis] delivered a sentence that is judicially insane but politically opportune", lawyer Jean-Yves Le Borgne said in a statement.

The ousted strongman viewed the court's speedy verdict - after six hours of deliberations - on the first day of the landmark trial as a "parody of justice", the statement added.

The "political liquidation... expresses the blind hatred of the past that fails to hide the lack of any vision of the future", it said.

Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi were charged with embezzlement after the discovery of money and jewellery at their palace on the outskirts of Tunis.

The ex-president was also fined 50 million dinars ($36m) and his wife 41 million dinars.

Judge Touhami Hafi said the sentences, which exceeded the 20 years that had been widely predicted, would take immediate effect despite the couple living in exile in Saudi Arabia, which has so far ignored Tunisia's demands to extradite Ben Ali.
Read more on:    zine el abidine ben ali  |  tunisia  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  tunisia protests
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