Bloomberg News

Former Tunisian Leader’s Lawyer Says Case Against Him Is ‘Farce’

June 06, 2011

June 6 (Bloomberg) -- Former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s lawyer said a case against his client is a “farce” and that Ben Ali doesn’t own real estate or bank accounts outside Tunisia.

“Forced to take on the role of scapegoat based on lies and injustice, President Ben Ali has decided not to remain silent,” Jean-Yves Le Borgne said in an e-mailed statement today. “The case against him is just a farce whose only goal is to represent a symbolic break with the past.”

Tunisian authorities have charged Ben Ali with crimes including the murder of protesters and conspiring against the internal security of the state. Protests against Ben Ali’s rule culminated in his Jan. 14 flight to Saudi Arabia and inspired a wave of popular uprisings in the Middle East that led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and revolts in Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Ben Ali “has neither real estate, nor bank accounts, in France or in any other foreign country,” the statement said.

A trial in absentia for Ben Ali on charges of possessing drugs and weapons is expected to start “within the coming few days,” Tunisian Justice Ministry spokesman Kazim Zein el- Abedeen said in a phone interview today.

--With assistance from Jihen Laghmari in Tunis. Editors: Fergal O’Brien, Andrew Atkinson

To contact the reporters on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at gviscusi@bloomberg.net; Mariam Fam in Cairo at fam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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