Ben Ali gets life for complicity in murders

2012-07-19 16:24

Tunis - Tunisia's ex-strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison for complicity in the murders of 43 protesters in the 2011 revolution that toppled him, a judge said on Thursday.

Hedi Ayari of the Tunis military court said Ben Ali was judged with about 40 of his former officials, including General Ali Seriati, ex-head of presidential security, who was given a 20-year prison term.

Former interior minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem was sentenced to 15 years, while the case against Ahmed Friaa, another former interior minister, was dismissed.

Families of the victims reacted angrily, saying the sentences for Seriati and Kacem were too lenient and criticising the dismissal of the case against Friaa.

The defendants were accused in connection with the 43 deaths and the wounding of 97 other people.

In all, more than 300 people died in the popular uprising that erupted in December 2010 and led to Ben Ali fleeing into exile in Saudi Arabia the following month.

The ousted president has already been sentenced in his absence to a number of heavy sentences.

He has been sentenced to more than 66 years in prison in three separate trials, including for embezzlement, illegal possession of weapons and narcotics, housing fraud and abuse of power.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-19 16:49

    Based on what Gaddafi and Assad have done, a major part of this sentence should be reduced.

      jerzy.bondov.5 - 2012-07-19 17:22

      Based on the fact that this once murdering dictator remains a western friend and ally, little or no effort will be made to bring him to justice. Lets see if the Hague issues an arrest warrant for him. I think not. Fred, your logic is misplaced as usual, or maybe its just the fact that this murderer happens to have a strong relationship with the ones you hold so dearly. How on Earth can his sentence be reduced if he is found guilty of murdering "only" 43 civilians. Why not release Charles Manson and Radko Mladic for good behaviour.

      ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-07-19 18:16

      Jerzy, Fred doesnt really mean it must be reduced. he's just showing the huge difference in the amount of people that Gaddafi/Assad murdered and what Ben Ali did

  • Felix Njewa Kankhukwa - 2012-07-19 17:17

    Ben Ali, Muamar Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak & Assad - That order. Now its where next?

      ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-07-19 18:01

      The problem I have with the Tunisian revolt is that Ben Ali was apparently elected in free and fair elections, even as recently as 2009

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