Ben Ali Gets 35 Years; Mubarak Has Cancer

The Arab Spring bears fruit: Today, former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Leila were sentenced to 35 years in prison on charges of theft and of unlawful possession of large sums of foreign currency, jewelry, archaeological artifacts, drugs and weapons. The sentence was delivered in absentia as Ben Ali and his wife fled Tunisia on January 14th, after massive popular protests which have proved the catalyst for anti-government movements in other Arab nations including Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Yemen and Syria. Ben Ali and his wife remain in exile in Saudi Arabia which has refused requests to extradite them.

The Guardian reports that Ben Ali has also been charged a fine of 91 million Tunisian dinars (about $66.5 million); he accumulated his wealth during his 23 years in power through involvement in some of Tunisia’s biggest businesses. The Tunisian court still plans to try him on further charges for ordering the killing of civilians as he sought to stay in power, and for the illegal possession of illegal drugs, firearms and archaeological artifacts that were found in his palaces.

Says the New York Times about Tunisia’s hatred of its deposed president and his wife:

They are reviled in Tunisia for presiding over a corrupt administration that enabled Ms. Trabelsi, a former hairdresser from a humble family, to help her relatives achieve vast fortunes and opulent lifestyles very quickly.

The most notorious of her kin, Sakher al Materi — known derisively as “Mr. Son-in-Law” — kept a caged tiger that ate four chickens a day and he boasted of the authentic Roman columns, frescoes and a lion’s head fountain at his villa.

Ben Ali remains unrepentant and issued a statement saying that the legal proceedings are  “a false and shameful image of victor’s justice” and, notes the BBC, a “joke.”

Egypt been watching Ben Ali’s trial closely, as ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, are scheduled to be on trial on August 3 on charges of “premeditated murder,” for which they could face the death penalty. Mubarak, as announced just today, has stomach cancer. While his sons have been imprisoned in Torah prison in Cairo, the 82-year-old former ruler has remained at the hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since officials detained him for questioning in April. As the Guardian points out:

The timing of Mubarak’s illness means he has been spared jail, fuelling claims that he is receiving special treatment from the Egyptian army, which took power following his ousting.

A committee of doctors appointed to assess Mubarak’s state of health said in late May that he should not be moved to a prison hospital because he was depressed, had poor blood circulation and was at risk of a sudden heart attack.

Mubarak has also been said to have tumors in his gall bladder and pancreas. Indeed, in the years proceeding his ouster in February, there had been many rumors about Mubarak’s health — he had indeed traveled to Germany last year for medical treatment — but any reports had been downplayed by the government.


Related Care2 Coverage

Muslim Woman Will Run for President of Egypt

Khaled Mohamed Saeed (January 27, 1982 – June 6, 2010) and the Arab Spring

Mubarak Fined $34 Million For Cutting Off Internet; Rafah Border with Gaza Opened (VIDEO)


Photo of demonstrators facing police lines on Aveunue Bourguiba, Central Tunis, by cjb [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago

Victoria's comment "Great news. Whose next??????????" sums up the current American mind set. i suppose its all a great show going on at the expense of other people. Like we have bombed Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan so who is next? Whatever these dictators are and were it was because of the fact that America instituted them there in the first place, fed them, nursed them and looked after them.

Enemies of America are assumed to be enemies of the world without question. Is it possible that other people may also have a sense of justice? And i don't think Saudi or any government is stupid enough to shelter criminals outright. it must be because insufficient information was presented to them on which the accusations and sentencing was based.

Huda G.
Huda G6 years ago

This is the beginning, but the sentences don't mean anything until they are behind bars!! The money should be collected from their personal bank accounts which I assume have been 'frozen', and any businesses that are within Tunisia. It should be paid into government accounts, to help with the transition of Tunisia.

Pressure should be put on Saudi, until they send them back to Tunisia. Political, Economical and people power!
Other Dictators Gaddafi, Assad and Saleh watch out your turns are coming God Willing!!

Myriam G.
Myriam G6 years ago

Shame on the government of Saudi Arabia and on all governements that give shelter to former dictators and violators of human rights!

victoria k.

Great news. Whose next??????????

Ernie Miller
william Miller6 years ago

what about all the buisnesses that proped up him and his dealings should the not also be prosicuted? he did not just find all this money on the ground some one gave it to him in exchange for some sort of faveritism.

Hege Torset
Hege Torset6 years ago


Alessandra C.

good news.

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A6 years ago

Just two down dozens more to go. Bush, Blair and Chenny should also be on the list for their responsibility to killing hundreds of thousands, if not Millions.

Also for destroying many nations and reducing them to rubble .... In addition to supporting all the stuges of Middle East.

The world will be a much better place without a lot of them.

James Turkali
James Turkali6 years ago

I hope the whole world would believe what king of Bahrain has done to his people, by killing and throwing them in dungeons and tortured them. king hamad bin isa al-khalifa (al-khara) should stand a trial like ben ali and mubarak. he deserves to be executed in public. late HITLER, was an angel compared to king hamad of Bahrain !!! THIS also gpes to his son salman and his uncle khalifa (the butcher).

Henk M.
Henk M.6 years ago

Most people become ill facing court proceedings.. lol

The next step for muslims to do is to sue the Islamic organisation for brainwashing people to crawl around in the dirt for so long and having turned them into suicidal and psychotic lunatics and having kept believers in the dark for so long..

Catholics and other religious groups would be wise to follow suit especially the Jews.. knowing since the holocaust Yehweh couldn't give a flying hoot about their bewailment..