The French daily Le Parisien reports (paywall) this morning that Ben Ali’s chauffeur, who had fled Tunisia after the revolution, was denied his request for assylum and has been extradited back to Tunisia. He is currently incarcerated in Monastir.
Meanwhile, Ben Ali’s lawyer went on Al Arabiya to defend his client’s innocence.
Former Tunisian President Zein ElAbedine Ben Ali’s lawyer Akram Azouri refuted allegations about his client’s escape from Tunisia following the protests, denied that he issued orders to shoot protestors, and contested reports about his wealth.
“Ben Ali left Tunisia on January 14, 2011 in what he planned would be a short trip as he expected to return within a few hours,” Azouri told Al Arabiya’s Point of Order Friday.
Saudi Arabia has refused Tunisian requests for the former dictator’s extradition. Le Monde Diplomatique attacks the Gulf monarchy and the subservience of other countries to its will.
The Tunisian prime minister Hamadi Jebali has provided another example of the preferential treatment automatically accorded to the Saudi monarchy. Jebali, who belongs to a movement savagely repressed by former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, praised his Saudi hosts on one of his first official visits abroad. Yet Riyadh, which supported the Ben Ali clan to the bitter end, refuses to extradite them and provides a safe haven for their finances. Gulf money also helps encourage the Salafists’ provocative behaviour in Tunisia, funding TV channels that spread their medieval interpretation of Islam.