Tunisia's ex-president sentenced to life imprisonment by military tribunal

A military tribunal sentenced former Tunisian President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to life imprisonment in absentia for ordering the killing of protesters in several regions in January, 2011, the TAP press agency reported on Thursday.

The tribunal at le Kef, some 200 km west of the capital, delivered the verdict against Mr. Ben Ali on charges of authorizing to kill protesters in the regions of Thala, Kasserine, Kairouan and Tajerouine during last year’s turmoil that led to his ouster.

On Wednesday, another military court sentenced Mr. Ben Ali to 20 years in prison in absentia over the “Ouerdanine affair” during which his nephew, Kais Ben Ali, was arrested after four protesters who tried to stop his flight were shot dead by his guards in the eastern coastal town of Ouerdanine in mid-January, 2011.

Last month, a military prosecutor requested death penalty against the former president who was accused of voluntary manslaughter.

Mr. Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia after his ouster, has already been sentenced to a total of 66 years in jail by civil courts for embezzlement, corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking and possession of firearms.

His former interior minister, Rafik Bel Hadj Kacem, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and 11 other security officials were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 months to 15 years.

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