February 20, 2011 / 7:15 PM / 9 years ago

Tunisia seeks Ben Ali's extradition

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia is seeking the extradition of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from Saudi Arabia to face charges stemming from a violent crackdown on protesters before he was toppled last month, the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

More than 100 people were killed during the uprising that forced Ben Ali to flee on January 14, according to the United Nations, many by live rounds fired by Ben Ali’s security forces.

The extradition request relates to new charges against Ben Ali for “committing and inciting homicide and sowing discord between citizens of the country,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

Tunisia had previously asked Interpol to help find Ben Ali and members of his family and arrest them on charges of theft and currency offences.

Ben Ali took power in 1987 and was seen a repressive ruler who ignored the country’s poor and raided public funds. He fell ill after fleeing to Saudi Arabia, sources have said.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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