Tunisian Court Jails Ben Ali Relative for 15 Years


A court in Tunisia Friday handed a 15-year jail term to Imed Trabelsi, a relative of the country's ousted president, a legal source told AFP, to add to two other sentences passed this summer.

Trabelsi -- nephew of the wife of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, toppled in a popular uprising in January -- was convicted of having passed bad checks and was also fined 150,000 dinars (76,000 euros, 105,000 dollars).

In May he received a two-year jail sentence for a drugs offence -- increased to four years on appeal in June.

And in July he was jailed for four years for illegal currency possession: he was caught carrying 36 watches and around five kilograms (11 pounds) when arrested at Tunis airport as he tried to flee the country in January.

Several other members of Tunisia's former ruling elite have been convicted of a range of offences. Those who managed to escape the country as Ben Ali lost power, have been tried in absentia.

While welcoming the verdicts, rights groups have criticized the conduct of some of the trials, which in some cases lasted only a few hours.