Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ben Ali and wife 'guilty of theft'

Al Jazeera English: "A Tunisian court on Monday sentenced ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife, in absentia, to 35 years in jail each after finding them guilty of theft and unlawful possession of cash and jewellery.

Reading out the verdict and sentence in the courtroom after just one day of deliberation, the judge also ruled Ben Ali and his wife would have to pay fines totalling $65.6 million.

The judge said the verdict on other charges, relating to illegal possession of drugs and weapons, would be pronounced on June 30, according to the Reuters news agency.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14 in the face of a popular uprising against his 23-year rule and is being tried in absentia by a criminal court over scores of cases against him and his entourage.

Akram Azoury, a Ben Ali lawyer who is based in Beirut, said earlier that his client 'strongly denies all charges they are trying to press as he never possessed the sums of money they claimed to have found in his office'."