Tunisia dictator son-in-law returns, is jailed

AP News
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Posted: Nov 19, 2014 5:58 AM

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — The son-in-law of Tunisia's deposed dictator has been sentenced to six months in prison on gun possession charges after returning from exile to face outstanding cases against him.

After the verdict was pronounced late Tuesday, Slim Chiboub was taken to Mornag prison, according to his lawyer Wissam Saidi.

One of the greatest grievances against dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was the influence peddling and kickbacks obtained by his extended family in business deals. Several fled and were tried in absentia.

Protesters ransacked Chiboub's house after he fled and it was held up as a sign of the opulence enjoyed by the dictator's family.

He was convicted in absentia in 2011 on two counts of gun possession and received sentences of five years and a one year. In Tuesday's trial, the judge tossed out one verdict and reduced sentence on the other to six months.

Several other cases against Chiboubremain open, including one over a deal with French industrial giant Alstom. His next trial is set for Dec. 10, according to his lawyers.

Chiboub, a 55-year-old businessman and former football club owner, said recently in an interview he was ready to return from exile in the United Arab Emirates and face justice in Tunisia.

His return comes at a time when many officials from Ben Ali's time are being rehabilitated and participating in politics once more.

Beji Caid Essebsi, a veteran politician who worked for both of Tunisia's previous presidents, is expected to win the largest share of votes in Sunday's presidential elections.