Canada denies asylum for ex-Tunisian president`s in-law

Canada denied asylum on Monday to the brother-in-law of deposed Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, saying he had likely used his position to commit "serious" crimes.

AFP| Updated: Mar 17, 2015, 00:22 AM IST

Toronto: Canada denied asylum on Monday to the brother-in-law of deposed Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, saying he had likely used his position to commit "serious" crimes.

The Immigration and Refugee Board said in hearing documents that it believes Belhassen Trabelsi has "committed serious non-political crimes," which would make him ineligible for refugee protection.

It cited a lengthy list of accusations brought by the Canadian government, which included fraud against the government of Tunisia, and laundering the proceeds of crime.

Trabelsi denied the allegations, saying he "amassed his fortune through work and his skills as an entrepreneur."

But the board found the evidence against him, albeit mostly circumstantial, compelling. On these grounds, it denied his refugee claim.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia in January 2011 after 23 years in power, following a mass uprising that swept Tunisia and touched off the Arab Spring.

The same month, Trabelsi and his family flew to Canada.

They had previously been granted permanent residency but lost this status because they had not spent an obligatory minimum amount of time in Canada.

Trabelsi`s sister Leila has been married to Ben Ali since 1994.