Tunisia: Tunisia formally asked Saudi Arabia to extradite the wife of ousted strongman Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali and took steps to dissolve his ruling party as protests continued against the struggling caretaker government.
Authorities "have made an official request to Saudi
authorities through diplomatic channels for the extradition of
Leila Trabelsi, the wife of the ousted president," state TAP
news agency said yesterday, quoting the foreign ministry.
Tunis has already asked Riyadh to extradite
74-year-old Ben Ali for his involvement "in several serious crimes aimed at perpetrating and inciting voluntary homicide and sowing discord" among Tunisians.
Ben Ali and his family fled to Saudi Arabia on January
14 after an unprecedented popular uprising. He was reported
last week to have fallen into a coma after suffering a stroke
and was being treated in a hospital in Jeddah.
The European Union decided earlier this month to
freeze the assets of 46 members of his entourage.
A former hairdresser, Trabelsi is accused of pillaging
the country through endemic corruption, putting family members
in key government and lucrative business posts.
Interior Minister Farhat Rajhi announced that he had
officially requested to dissolve Ben Ali`s powerful
Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party, two weeks after
suspending its activities and closing its offices.
Despite its seemingly perennial power, the RCD,
founded in 1988 by Ben Ali, had a tiny membership of some two
million, roughly a fifth of the population.
And while the revolution forced out the former
president, the caretaker government of Prime Minister Mohamed
Ghannouchi continues to face protests by angry demonstrators
demanding to root out vestiges of the old regime.