Wednesday 21 March 2018

Tunisian protesters turn anger on colluding officials

Damien McElroy in Tunis

TUNISIAN protesters yesterday turned their anger on officials suspected of helping relatives of the former president flee the country.

It came after a video emerged showing one of his nephews, Imed Trabelsi, preparing to fly out from a military base. It was widely reported that Mr Trabelsi was seized by a mob and fatally stabbed on Sunday, but there had been no confirmation of his death. The video posted on his Facebook page showed Mr Trabelsi negotiating in Italian to charter a private jet at Tunis airbase.

Mr Trabelsi was a nephew of the former first lady, Leila Ben Ali, and a notorious member of a mafia-like business clan that had a stranglehold on the Tunisian economy. The lack of proof of his death led many Tunisians to believe that the former ruling elite bribed its way to freedom with the help of officials who had clung on to office. President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled last Sunday, bringing an end to a 23-year dictatorship, after the country was swept by mass demonstrations. The government announced the arrest of 33 relatives on Wednesday but they were believed to have been junior members of the family. Most had fled.

"We can't believe there is a real attempt to round up these cronies," said Mohammad Jery, a Tunis businessman. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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