Tunisian court delays trial for deposed president

AP , Thursday 21 Jul 2011

Ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's second trial is postponed for one week

A Tunisian court on Thursday postponed a trial in two new cases targeting the country's ousted president over alleged corruption in lucrative property deals.

Former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has already been convicted twice in absentia in recent weeks, for embezzlement and gun and drug smuggling.

On Thursday, another trial opened in a Tunis court without Ben Ali present, but was subsequently postponed for a week.

He is charged with abuse of power, accused in two different cases of intervening personally to secure property for his family members at prices well below market value.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia in January after a monthlong uprising over corruption, unemployment and repression during his long regime, helping spark revolts around the Arab world.

Ben Ali faces more than 100 charges in civil and military cases, some of which could result in a death sentence, including his role in deaths during the uprisings.

In Thursday's proceedings, Ben Ali and two others went on trial. A defense lawyer hired recently by the two other defendants, Hosni Beji, asked the court to postpone Thursday's trial so that he could better prepare the case. The court agreed to postpone the hearing until July 28.

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