Tunisia`s PM accuses toppled Ben Ali of `high treason`

Tunisia`s new Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi accused toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of "high treason" during his first public appearance.

Last Updated: Mar 04, 2011, 20:47 PM IST

Tunis: Tunisia`s new Prime Minister Beji
Caid Essebsi today accused toppled president Zine El Abidine
Ben Ali of "high treason" during his first public appearance.

"I have no doubt that the former president made
himself guilty of high treason for having renounced upholding
his responsibility of ensuring security and stability" and for
"having left" the country when he was "commander in chief of
the armed forces," Caid Essebsi told a news briefing.

Ben Ali fled his north African country for Saudi
Arabia on January 14 after a month-long popular uprising
against his rule, which began in 1987.

Caid Essebsi, who took office last Sunday, stressed
that high treason was a crime punishable by the death penalty.

He also said that he would announce a government
"within two days" in view of "restarting the economic cycle
without any delay, because we are on the edge of a precipice."

"Our priority will be to re-establish the authority of
the state, which has declined to an unsupportable extent,
which means the re-establishment of security for all citizens,
regions and institutions," he said.

PTI