Tunisia's Ben Ali denies all charges on eve of trial

AFP , Sunday 19 Jun 2011

Ben Ali, whose trial begins in absentia in Tunis on Monday, denies all charges against him

Ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali "strongly denies all charges they are trying to press as he never possessed the sums of money they claimed to have found in his office," his Beirut-based lawyer Akram Azoury said in a statement and hopes his country will "overcome chaos."

"The arms that were allegedly found were hunting weapons and mostly gifts from heads of state on their visits to Tunisia. The allegations of drug possession are but shameful lies," he added.

Ben Ali "hopes with all his heart that Tunisia will overcome its current chaos and darkness and continue on its path to progress."

The former strongman, who fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January in the face a popular uprising against his 23-year rule, is to be tried in absentia by a criminal court over some 93 cases against him.

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