Ben Ali lawyer says jail sentence is "joke"
A Tunisian court late Monday sentenced in absentia to 35 years in jail each of the former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his wife. The court also fined Ben Ali and his wife, with about US$65.6 million after being convicted on charges of embezzlement and possession of large amounts of money and jewelry illegally.
Bin Ali's lawyer Akram Azori commented on that charge in an interview with the BBC, saying, "Do not forget that they found drugs and money in the presidential palace three months after bin Ali's departure. These charges are a joke." "Also do not forget that he had no defense lawyers. I have asked the Tunisian authorities to allow me to defend him, and they did not grant me this permission. This is a joke again."
According to a statement issued earlier by Ben Ali, he said the trial aimed to divert attention from the failure of the new political order. He asked the Tunisians not to forget his achievements.