Tunisia: 23 Ben Ali associates on trial

2011-07-26 20:57
Tunis - Twenty-three allies of ousted Tunisian leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi appeared before a Tunis court on Tuesday for trying to flee the country last January in illegal possession of foreign currency.

They include Ali Seriati, Ben Ali's former security chief, and Imed Trabelsi, Leila's nephew and one of the most reviled men from the former ruling clan.

Seriati headed Ben Ali's feared presidential guard which supervised all other security agencies.

A total of 35 people are facing charges but only the 23 Ben Ali associates arrested in January appeared before the court on Tuesday.

Fourteen men, in handcuffs, and nine women, wearing white full-length robes, entered the tiny courtroom which was packed with journalists and lawyers.

The 23 were arrested and found to be in possession of a large sum in foreign currency as they tried to flee the country on July 14, the day Ben Ali and his wife fled into exile in Saudi Arabia following a weeks-long popular revolt.

Seriati, who is suspected of having planned a series of attacks aimed at fanning nation-wide chaos, told the court that fake passports were made at the presidential palace specifically for Ben Ali's immediate family.

The 23 defendants have all been held at the Aouina military base in Tunis since their arrest.

"You tried to flee the country on January 14 in possession of foreign currency and jewels," court president Faouzi Jbelli said, before reading out the charges against each of the accused.

Legal activities

Imed Trabelsi, wearing a white polo shirt, rejected the charges, denied that he had sought to flee the country and said the money in his possession came from "legal activities".

The prosecution said Imed, who was already sentenced to four years in jail in June for drug possession, had 36 watches and five kilograms of jewellery when he was nabbed at the airport.

Another co-defendant, Moncef Trabelsi, was caught with $2 400 and €17 500.

A defence lawyer said the trial might be postponed after the reading of the charges.

Since his escape to Saudi Arabia, Ben Ali has already been twice convicted and sentenced in trials held in his absence.

On July 04, a Tunis court sentenced him to 15 and a half years in jail for possession of arms, drugs and archaeological artefacts - and fined him €54 000.

And in June, Ben Ali and his wife were sentenced to 35 years in prison and fined €45m for misappropriating public funds after police found large sums of cash and jewellery in their palace.

Ben Ali denounced his first conviction as a "parody of justice" and "political liquidation" in a statement issued last month.

But he and his entourage face possible legal proceedings in around 180 other cases.

- SAPA
Read more on:    zine el abidine ben ali  |  tunisia  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  tunisia protests
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
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

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

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be some tension that is caused through social conflicts -- personal interests versus obligations. You may feel an...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.