'Exiled' Ben Ali terms 'trial in his absence in Tunisia' a "shameful masquerade"
Tunis, June 20 (ANI): Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the former autocratic leader of Tunisia whose downfall triggered uprisings in the Arab world, has condemned the Tunis criminal court's decision to carry out trials against him in absentia as a "shameful masquerade".
The French lawyer of Ben Ali, who is in exile in Saudi Arabia, released a statement from his client about Monday's trial and his departure for Saudi Arabia.
This is Ben Ali's first official response following a month-long uprising in Tunisia against his regime, which eventually led him to leave the country on January 14 this year.
The 74-year-old leader denied that he had fled Tunisia, saying he left to avoid "fratricidal and deadly confrontations" among Tunisians, express.co.uk reports.
The statement said he would clarify the circumstances of his departure at an appropriate time.
Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi are both charged in one of the two cases before the court today, the discovery of about 27 million US dollars in jewels and foreign and Tunisian currency at a palace in a village north of Tunis.
The second case targeting only Ben Ali surrounds the seizure of arms and drugs in the official presidential palace in Carthage.
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