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Former Tunisian President Faces 18 Charges

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (file photo)

Tunisia's judicial authorities are readying 18 charges against former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali that include a range of alleged crimes from drug trafficking to voluntary manslaughter.

The state news agency TAP reported that Justice Minister Lazhar Karoui Chebbi announced the prosecution plans in an interview on state television late Wednesday.

Chebbi said as many as 44 legal cases are being prepared against Ben Ali, his family and his political allies.

After ruling for 23 years, Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia when he was ousted during protests in January. Some of his family members and those who were in his inner circle remain in detention in Tunisia.

Western media sources reported in February that Ben Ali was in grave condition in a Saudi hospital after suffering a stroke.

Chebbi said the Justice Ministry will attempt to extradite Ben Ali from Saudi Arabia to face trial. Tunisia is seeking Interpol's aid to arrest Ben Ali and other family members who left the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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