Tunisia

Tunisia issues arrest warrant for Ben Ali

AFP

Tunisia issued an international arrest warrant for former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and members of his family on Wednesday. The ousted leader and his wife are accused of the illegal acquisition of assets and illicit transfers of funds abroad, according to Justice Minister Lazhar Karoui Chebbi.

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Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January. His wife, Leila Trabelsi, left the country around the same time.

The Justice Minister added that eight members of the former presidential guard - including the head of Ben Ali's security force, Ali Sériati - were wanted for violence against the Tunisian population.

The announcement comes as Tunisia's interim government prepares to announce a cabinet shake-up on Wednesday, to replace the five ministers who have withdrawn since the line-up was announced on 17 January.

Major car companies, including Ford, Audi and Volkswagen, are reviewing their links to companies owned by Ben Ali's family members after the fall of his regime, the Financial Times reports.

In the capital, Tunis, demonstrators gathered in the main government quarter for a fourth day to demand the resignation of all ministers with links to Ben Ali's regime.

Witnesses say some 200 protestors were seen throwing stones at police. Riot officers are reported to have fired tear gas at protestors as they attempted to force a barrier near Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi's offices.

On Tuesday, anti-government protestors were greeted by rival demonstrations calling for acceptance of the transition leadership and an end to public unrest.

Meanwhile the UGTT union reported that its offices have been attacked in the cities of Beja, Gafsa, Kasserine, Mehdia and Monastir.

A spokesperson blamed the attacks on "militiamen and gangs of bandits linked to the old regime".

The union said thousands of its members were on general strike on Wednesday in Tunisia's second city, Sfax.

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