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Tunisia's exiled president sentenced to 10 years for 'abuse of power'

Tunisia's exiled president sentenced to 10 years for 'abuse of power'


Tunisia’s ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who has been on exile in Saudi Arabia since 2011, was on Friday sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for “abuse of power” by a Tunisian court.

The exiled former leader was found guilty of “using his position to obtain unjustified advantages (and) causing harm to the administration” in a case involving an advertising agency, spokesman Kamel Barbouche told AFP, without providing further details.

Ben Ali, who fled Tunisia to Saudi Arabia in January 2011 following a popular uprising against his 23-year rule, has been convicted in a number of cases in the past five years including cases of corruption.

He also received a life sentence in absentia in 2012 for ordering security forces to fire on protesters during the revolt.

Ben Ali’s lawyer Mounir Bensalha was not immediately available for comment.

On Monday, government spokesman Khaled Chouket said in comments aired on radio, that he wished Ben Ali would return from exile.

Tunisian authorities have faced a string of deadly jihadist attacks and failed to redress the economy since Ben Ali’s ouster.

Nostalgia for the Ben Ali era has spread among a small section of society, but the former president remains largely discredited in public opinion.