Ben Ali on Interpol’s wanted list , Protest continue in Tunisia

JNN 27 Jan 2011 : The international police agency (Interpol) has issued a global arrest warrant for Tunisia’s ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and several of his family members.

Tunis bureau of Interpol put the warrant into effect on Wednesday and urged the member states to search for, locate and detain Ben Ali and six of his family members, Associated Press reported.

The alert follows an arrest warrant by the country’s interim government for the overthrown ruler.

Tunisian Justice Minister Lazhar Karoui Chebbi said that Ben Ali and his relatives are wanted on charges of illegally taking money out of the country and acquiring real estate and other assets abroad.

Ben Ali’s wife, Leila, who is on the list too, is said by the French media to have abandoned the country with millions of dollars worth of gold.

The accused are believed to have assets of various types in France, where prosecutors have launched a probe into the family’s property.

The announcement comes amid clashes between police forces and protesters camping out in front of the Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi’s office in the Tunisian capital.

Protesters are outraged at the inclusion of Ghannouchi and other members from the former administration in the transitional government.

The premier has vowed to put an end to his political career after the election due in six month, but has insisted that his presence is needed to help the country through the road to democracy.

Meanwhile, the General Union of Tunisian Workers staged a nationwide strike on Wednesday to pressure the interim government to resign. Teachers and students have also started an open-ended strike.

Tunisia’s ambassador to Japan has also resigned in a show of solidarity with the popular revolution.

Ben Ali’s 23 years of dictatorship, tainted by massive human rights violations and torture allegations, ended earlier this month when he abandoned the North African country after weeks of street protests.

Thousands of Tunisian protesters have taken to the streets of the central city of Sidi Bouzid, calling on the remaining figures of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime to resign.

The protesters chanted, “No to the theft of the revolution! Yes to the resignation of the government,” on Thursday, AFP reported.

Sidi Bouzid is where the first revolt of the country took place last month.

Ben Ali’s 23 years of dictatorship, which was marred by repeated human rights violations and torture, ended earlier this month after weeks of street protests.

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