Prosecutor Requests Death Penalty for Ben Ali
In Tunisia, the prosecutor of the military tribunal, has called for the death penalty in the trial of former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali for his role in the deaths of 338 protesters during the uprising that ended his reign. Majid Bounani, another lawyer involved in the case, said that requesting the death penalty was more of a political move than a legal one. “The reason why the general prosecutor demanded death penalty was to appease families of the martyrs and wounded of the revolution; it does not have a legal basis,” stated Bounani. Ben Ali is being tried in absentia by both military and civilian courts for alleged crimes committed over his 23-year rule.
In other news, Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane began a two-day diplomatic visit to Tunisia to discuss strategies for enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries. Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali officially invited Benkirane, and the entourage will include Moroccan Minister of Education Mohamed el-Wafa and Delegate Minister in charge of the budget at the Moroccan Ministry of the Economy and Finance Driss el-Azami el-Idrissi.
Additionally, Nourredine Bouheiri, Tunisia’s justice minister, believes Ben Ali is still benefiting from funds stashed in foreign bank accounts. “Ben Ali still relies on a money-smuggling network from there through assumed networks and false identities and the proof is that there is movement and usage in bank accounts abroad,” said Bouheiri. With finding secret accounts belonging to Leila Ben Ali in Lebanon worth $45 million, and a Swiss account linked to Ben Ali at $63 million, it is unknown how much wealth Ben Ali and his colleagues accumulated, but it is believed there are billions of dollars located in secret accounts around the world.