BEIRUT

Middle East

Tunisia's Ben Ali handed third life sentence

Ousted Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. (AP)

TUNIS: Tunisia's ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Tuesday was handed a third life sentence since he fled to Saudi Arabia in January 2011 during a mass uprising against his rule.

The military court in Sfax, southeast Tunisia, convicted Ben Ali over the violent repression of protests in the region during the revolution in which one person died and two others were injured, the official TAP news agency reported.

The interior minister at the time, Rafik Belhaj Kacem, was given a 10-year jail term while the former head of the presidential guard, Ali Seriati, was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Tunisia's deposed former strongman has already been handed two life sentences in absentia, in June and July last year, for presiding over the bloody crackdown on the uprising that eventually unseated him and ignited the Arab Spring.

He has also separately been sentenced to decades in prison along with his wife Leila Trabelsi for embezzlement, illegal possession of narcotics, housing fraud and abuse of power.

Living in gilded exile in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the couple regularly claim they are the victims of post-revolution score settling.

 

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