Former Tunisian president to face June 20 trial

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Former Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia in January, will be tried in absentia on June 20, said Tunisia’s interim prime minister.

“Ben Ali’s trial will start on June 20,” Beji Caid Sebsi said in an interview on Al Jazeera television. “He will be tried in a military and in a civilian court.”

Ben Ali fled to Jeddah after he was toppled by mass protests on January 14 after 23 years in power. Several members of his family and security and some of his closest allies were detained shortly after he was forced out.

Tunisian authorities have been preparing several legal cases against Ben Ali, including conspiring against the state, voluntary manslaughter and drug trafficking.

The caretaker authorities, trying to assert their authority and gain legitimacy in the eyes of protesters who forced the transition, are attacking the vestiges of his long rule.

Saudi authorities have not responded to a request by Tunis to extradite Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi.



Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted shortly after Ben Ali, is also due to stand trial for the killing of protesters and could face the death penalty.