May 11, 2011 / 10:09 PM / in 8 years

Case of ousted Tunisia leader heads to army court

TUNIS, May 11 (Reuters) - Tunisian authorities referred the case against ousted leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to a military court on Wednesday, the official TAP news agency reported.

Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia after a popular uprising in January, was charged last week over the killing of protesters during the revolt against his 23-year rule. Tunisian authorities say they have 18 legal cases against the former president.

Ben Ali has been charged with an array of crimes including plotting against the internal security of the state and instigating disorder, murder and looting, according to media reports.

He has also been accused of voluntary manslaughter, drug trafficking and use. Authorities are seeking his extradition from Saudi Arabia. He has not appeared in public since he fled.

The interim administration in Tunisia, seeking to assert authority and gain legitimacy in the eyes of protesters, has promised to prosecute figures from the ousted government.

Several members of Ben Ali’s family and security apparatus, and some of his closest allies, were detained shortly after he was toppled.

The TAP report said the cases of Ben Ali’s former interior minister and a top security service official would also face the military court. (Reporting by Sylvia Westall)

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