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Tunisia Opens Second Trial Against Ben Ali

Former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, (File)
Former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, (File)

A court in Tunisia has opened a trial against former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali for drugs and weapons charges.

It is the second trial against the former leader since he went into exile in Saudi Arabia in January amid mass protests against his 23-year rule.

His lawyers said Monday that Ben Ali is not being given a fair trial, and withdrew from the hearing. The trial resumed without them after a short recess.

The former leader and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, were convicted in absentia last month of embezzlement and other charges after jewels and public funds were found in one of their palaces. They were each sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Ben Ali denounced the conviction, calling it a "parody of justice."

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