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Eighteen legal cases against ousted President, says Justice Minister.

TUNIS, April 14, 2011 (TAP) - Legal cases against ousted President, his family and some of his ministers numbered 44, including 18 against him for ''conspiring against the State, voluntary manslaughter and drug use and trafficking," Justice Minister Lazhar Karoui Chebbi said.

In an interview aired Wednesday evening on national television, the Minister said that the authorities had issued a request to Interpol to freeze the assets of former President Ben Ali and his family, adding that a joint delegation of the ministries of the Interior and Justice will go to the headquarters of Interpole in Lyon (France) to speed up the enforcement of the request.

He also declared that a delegation of his department had met with representatives of Canada, Switzerland and the United States and that this meeting had led to convincing results.

He reiterated Tunisia's care to recover the assets abroad and extradite Ben Ali, now living in Saudi Arabia, and his family through bilateral agreements on legal assistance or international conventions as regards countries with which Tunisia has no conventions.

As regards the assets of the ousted President and his relatives, the Minister reminded of the Government decree adopted recently to seize and transfer them to State property, saying that 360 title deeds owned by the ousted president and his family are now owned by the State.

Besides, Mr, Chebbi affirmed that the amnesty law was a major gain that met the calls of the Tunisian people for decades. He stressed, in this context, that 366 political prisoners had had the benefit of this law and recovered all their rights, not to mention that 3 359 prisoners had had the benefit of release on parole and 1808 more had been granted pardon. Speaking of prisoners on the run, the Minister said they number about 11 000, but 6 400 of them returned to prisons.

As regards the situation of prisons, he said that 17 of them had been damaged and funds worth about 2,7 million dinars had been allocated for their repair .

As to the events that happened in Thala and Kasserine at the start of the uprising, especially the affair of snipers, he said he had met with 6 families of Thala martyrs and he was taking personal care of this issue.

He added that the investigating magistrate of Kasserine issued 6 summons against police officers, including a former Director of National Security and a high-level officer.

The Justice Minister affirmed the existence of sustained co-ordination and co-operation between his department and the Interior Ministry to secure the protection of citizens and bring defendants before courts.

He said that the cases relating to martyrs and wounded number 192 , including 174 complaints against unknown persons, stressing that the investigations are going on to unveil the identity of the assailants.

As regards the future of justice, he said that magistrates are aware of the fact that there can be no security or stability in societies without ''independence of justice'' and that mechanisms to secure it are being examined, especially the election of a Higher Magistrates' Council whose chairmanship will be entrusted to the highest public office such as the first magistrate of the Supreme Court of Appeal instead of the Head of State.

He also announced that the Justice Ministry had dismissed and replaced six magistrates known for their allegiance to the former regime and that four other judges had been dismissed from their duties.

In another connection, the Minister announced that there are at present in Tunisia 135 prisoners sentenced to death.

Tap 2011

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Publication:Agency Tunis Afrique Press
Geographic Code:6TUNI
Date:Apr 14, 2011
Words:596
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