27 Jan 2011

Tunisia issues arrest warrant for former president

6:20 am on 27 January 2011

The Tunisian government has issued an international arrest warrant for former president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali.

It is also seeking the detention of some members of his family, including his wife, Leila Trabelsi.

Justice Minister Lazhar Karoui Chebbi said the interim government had asked Interpol to detain Mr Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January amid mass street protests.

Mr Chebbi said Mr Ben Ali was accused of illegally acquiring property and assets and transferring funds abroad.

Seven family members are already in Tunisian custody.

The minister also said that six members of the presidential guard would be put on trial for "conspiring against state security and inciting people against each other with weapons" after Mr Ben Ali's departure.

The BBC reports it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia will hand them over but the warrant will restrict their ability to travel to other countries, especially in the West.