Lawyers walk out of Ben Ali's trial

2011-07-04 13:49

kalahari.com

Tunis - The second trial of Tunisia's former president opened dramatically on Monday with the court-appointed defence lawyers walking out after their request for a postponement was denied.

Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his family fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14 after a month long popular uprising against his rule. He is now being tried in absentia by the new government for a range of crimes, including corruption, embezzlement and ordering the death of protesters.

Ben Ali has foreign attorneys, but Tunisian law says lawyers from other countries cannot represent clients being tried in absentia. As a result, the former president is being represented by court-appointed defenders Hosni Beji and Bechir Mahfoudhi.

As they left the court, the lawyers were booed by onlookers, who shouted they should resign.

"Good riddance, you would have done better defending the victims of Ben Ali rather than be the lawyers for a torturer," said Ali Laayouni, a young unemployed graduate from the centre of the country where the rebellion first broke out.

Ben Ali's fall inspired similar pro-democracy uprisings against the region's autocratic rulers that is now being called the "Arab Spring."

Monday's trial on charges of gunrunning and drug smuggling has already been delayed twice, first until June 30 at the request of defence attorneys who said they needed more time to study the file. It was delayed again due to a lawyers' strike.

Guns and drugs

It is the second of some 93 civil cases being brought against the president and his hated family and centres on guns and drugs found in the official presidential palace in Carthage.

On June 20, he and his wife were convicted of embezzlement and other charges and sentenced to 35 years in prison and fined $64m.

Ben Ali claimed in a statement that the jewels and weapons were gifts from heads of state and the money and drugs were planted.

In addition to the civil cases, there are another 182 counts that fall under military jurisdiction, some of which could risk the death sentence, including his role in the deaths of 300 people during the uprisings.

Ben Ali's foreign attorneys have dismissed the trials as rigged and part of a campaign to demonise the former president at the behest of Tunisia's new rulers.

"Today's trial, like the past verdict and the 93 trials announced is judicially nonexistent because it violates practically every criteria for a fair trial," said Akram Azoury, Ben Ali's Lebanese lawyer, in a statement.

Saudi Arabia has not responded to Tunisia's requests to extradite Ben Ali.

- AP

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

SHARE:

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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Gordons Bay - 18:30 PM
    Road name: R44 Faure Marine Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED at Suikerbossie Drive due to roadworks until 5am - traffic diverted - expect delays
  • Wednesday Kuils River - 18:01 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. 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

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your heart is big and you are sensitive to the needs of those around you. Your humanitarian side is emphasized today and you may...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.