Drug charges against Ben Ali 'irrational'

2011-07-01 22:13

kalahari.com

Tunis - Accusations that ousted Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali possessed and planned to sell marijuana are "irrational", his lawyer said on Friday as the exiled leader faces another trial on drug trafficking charges during his rule.

Ben Ali, who has already been sentenced in absentia to 35 years in prison for misappropriating public funds, has been charged in a separate case with drug possession and trafficking, as well as weapons possession.

His lawyer Hosni Beji told AFP on Friday that the second trial, which is set to open on Monday, must be pushed back so that he can make contact with his client, who has been living in exile with his wife in Saudi Arabia since fleeing Tunisia on July 14.

The Lebanese Beji also said the pending charges were "irrational".

"How can we imagine that a president holding power can have 2kg of cannabis resin of mediocre quality (with intentions) of selling it," Beji said.

Ben Ali's drug and weapons trial was initially set to open on Friday but was pushed back following a Tunisian judges' strike.

"I will ask for an adjournment to a date that will allow me to have contact with my client and his family and prepare with him" a solid defence, Beji said.

The lawyer added that he has a list of witnesses that should be able to prove Ben Ali "never owned or kept drugs".

Regarding the weapons charges, Benji said most of the weapons found at Ben Ali's palace in the Carthage neighbourhood north of Tunis were personal gifts from high-ranking international officials.

Both the Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Ben Abdel Aziz gave Ben Ali weapons, according to Beji.

While delaying the start of the trial would be ideal, Beji said he is ready to present his defence if the court refuses to grant a delay.

"If a deal (on a delay) is reached, I will go to Saudi Arabia and will examine the case with (Ben Ali)," he added.

Ben Ali's wife Leila Trabelsi was also convicted last week on the corruption charges.

Money and jewlery were found at their palace outside Tunis, searched by police after a popular uprising forced the two to flee.

Their sentence was criticised by rights groups and commentators, partly because the conviction was handed down after only six hours' deliberation.

Some critics have also said Tunisia's interim government, in hastily trying to punish the former leader who was in power for 23 years, has focused on lesser offences.

Prosecutions should focus on human rights violations committed by the former regime against the Tunisian people, the International Federation of Human Rights and the Tunisian League of Human Rights said in a statement last week.

Ben Ali himself denounced his June 20 conviction as a "parody of justice" and "political liquidation", in a statement issued through his Paris-based lawyer Jean-Yves Le Borgne.

The ex-strongman and his entourage face possible legal proceedings in no less 182 other cases.

They also face trial on charges of torture, money laundering and trafficking of archaeological artefacts.

Read more on:    zine el abidine ben ali  |  tunisia  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  tunisia protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Milnerton - 16:58 PM
    Road name: Plattekloof Road Both Ways
    DELAYS between the Koeberg Road and the N7 Highway
  • Wednesday Delft - 16:57 PM
    Road name: Stellenbosch Arterial Road Westbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between Blackheath and Delft Main Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.