Tunisia's Ben Ali gets life in prison

June 13, 2012 at 10:30 PM   |   Comments

TUNIS, Tunisia, June 13 (UPI) -- Ex-Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was sentenced to life in prison in absentia Wednesday for his role in suppressing the Arab Spring protesters.

The punishment meted out by a military court was for Ben Ali ordering police to shoot protesters in Thala, Kasserine, Kairouan and Tajerouine, the news Web site Tunisia Live reported.

The court dropped charges against former Chief of Presidential Security Ali Seriate and former Regional Director of Intervention Forces Moncef Laadjimi.

Prosecutor Monia Bouali predicted the dismissal of charges against Laadjimi would not be received well in Kasserine.

"I expect that people will react negatively in Kasserine, especially in the case of Moncef Laadjimi, as many people stated they had personally witnessed him coordinating killings," she said.

Ben Ali, who is in exile in Saudi Arabia with his wife and family, was given a separate 20-year prison term for "inciting disorder" and "murdering and looting on Tunisian territory," Tunisia Live said. That case involved the Jan. 15, 2011, killing of four protesters in Ouardanine while security forces attempted to smuggle Ben Ali's nephew, Kais Ben Ali, out of the country.

Several other members of the Ben Ali regime were sentenced to prison terms ranging from eight to 15 years.

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