1st military trial for Tunisia's ex-ruler begins

AP News
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Posted: Nov 28, 2011 3:26 PM
1st military trial for Tunisia's ex-ruler begins

The first military tribunal for Tunisia's deposed dictator and 22 of his top associates has begun.

Former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14 after an uprising and has since been tried in absentia in a civilian court.

Col. Marouane Bouguerra, the military general prosecutor, says Monday's trial before a military court in Kef, in northwestern Tunisia, is over the fatal shootings of 22 demonstrators in the towns of Thala and Kasserine during the uprising. The charges carry a death penalty.

Defendants include two former interior ministers, the director of security and the head of special security brigades. Tunisia's state news agency reported all have denied issuing instructions to open fire on protesters.

The trial was adjourned until Dec. 12.