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Tunisia demands Ben Ali's extradition

TUNISIA'S government asked Saudi Arabia yesterday whether its exiled former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is dead, and demanded his extradition if he is still alive, as thousands of people protested in the capital, demanding the caretaker government resigns.

The 74-year-old Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14, following a massive popular uprising that ended his 23-year rule and prompted a wave of protest against other autocratic leaders across the Arab world.

Tunisia's foreign ministry said it had asked Saudi Arabia to provide information "as soon as possible" as to whether the ousted president's health had deteriorated or "the possibility of his death" following news reports on the matter in recent days. The statement also asked Saudi Arabia to extradite Ben Ali following "new charges", including an alleged role in "the provocation of discord among the people in driving them to kill one another".

Irish Independent