Tunisia seeks death penalty for Ben Ali
An El Kef military court prosecutor on Wednesday (May 23rd) requested the death penalty for former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, TAP reported.
Ben Ali is being tried in absentia with 23 others, including two former interior ministers and several top security officials, for the deaths of 22 demonstrators in the central-west towns of Thala and Kasserine during last year's revolution.
Testifying in court last January, ex-prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi said Ben Ali wanted to kill "at least one thousand" of the protestors. Ghannouchi claimed that he warned Ben Ali against the use of live bullets on protestors in Kasserine, but the former leader justified the practice as a legitimate defence.
This is the first time for Ben Ali to face the death penalty. He has already been sentenced to more than 66 years in prison for drug trafficking, embezzlement and other crimes.
Ben Ali fled Tunisia on January 14th to seek exile in Saudi Arabia. He and wife Leila Trabelsi are the subjects of international arrest warrants, but Saudi authorities have not responded to Tunisian extradition requests.
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