Tunisians call for Ben Ali's extradition

Jan. 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM

TUNIS, Tunisia, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Tunisians demonstrated in front of the Saudi Embassy in Tunis to demand the extradition of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali so he can be tried.

Mohamed Brahmi, a member of the People's Movement, told Tunisia Live Monday Ben Ali heads the list of former government officials wanted for wrongdoings associated with his regime. Members of the People's Movement and the Congress for the Republic participated in the protest.

After Ben Ali was granted asylum in Saudi Arabia following his ouster in 2011, Saudi officials said extradition of the former Tunisian president was diplomatically unjust and inconsistent with Arab hospitality norms.

Brahmi said he knew the chances of Saudi Arabia turning Ben Ali over to Tunisia were slim.

"There is no country that [would return] political refugees to the governments seeking them due to fears of torture [of the refugee]," he said.

Responding to concerns Ben Ali couldn't get a fair trial, both parties said calls for his extradition weren't based on vengeance but to fulfill the demand that a trial be held, Tunisia Live said.

Ben Ali left the North African country with family members in January 2011 as the Tunisian uprising toppled his 23-year reign leading to the Arab Spring protests in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.

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