TUNIS | Former Tunisian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was sentenced on Wednesday in absentia to life imprisonment by a military court because of its role in the violent repression in Thalia and Kasserine, two important cities of the Tunisian revolution, according to TAP agency.
The death penalty was sought against the dismissed president, as he was a refugee in Saudi Arabia and charged, along with 22 other former officials of his regime, for the deaths of 22 people killed between 8 and 12 January 2011, the height of repression against the popular movement that led to the removal of Ben Ali. His file, one of the most painful about the Tunisian revolution, was trailed for six months by a military court in Kef, 170 kilometers from Tunis. The other defendants, former Interior Minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Instead, all judicial proceedings started against eight defendants, including former presidential guard chief, Ali Serial, or former police chief of the anti riot police Moncef Laajimi were withdrawn, causing anger victims, who began to chant “Revenge, Revenge!”. “The judge was unable to complete the verdict because of the crowd”, said Abdelkarim Maghuri, a lawyer who has pursued all the audiences.