Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.

    SUBMIT

Thank you for
taking the pledge

Vote responsibly as each vote counts
and makes a diffrence

Disclaimer:

Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English
News18 » World
2-min read

Tunisia's Ex-president Ben Ali, Toppled in Arab Spring Dies in Exile in Saudi Arabia

Ben Ali, who ruled his North African country from 1987 until 2011, was viewed by some as a bulwark against Islamist extremism, but faced criticism for muzzling the opposition and his reluctance to embrace democracy.

AFP

Updated:September 19, 2019, 10:25 PM IST
facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp
Tunisia's Ex-president Ben Ali, Toppled in Arab Spring Dies in Exile in Saudi Arabia
Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali takes the oath at the national assembly in Tunis November 12, 2009. Ben Ali was re-elected on October 26, with 89.6 percent of the vote for a fifth term after two decades in power. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Tunis: Former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the first leader to be toppled by the Arab Spring revolts, died on Thursday in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia's foreign ministry told AFP. He was 83.

"We had confirmation of his death 30 minutes ago," the ministry said, without giving further details.

His lawyer, Mounir Ben Salha, confirmed the news, citing family members and Ben Ali's doctor.

Ben Ali, who ruled his North African country from 1987 until 2011, was viewed by some as a bulwark against Islamist extremism, but faced criticism for muzzling the opposition and his reluctance to embrace democracy.

Eventually, growing frustration over unemployment and high prices snapped. In late 2010, the self-immolation of a young trader sparked major protests that rocked the country and sparked a deadly clampdown.

Ben Ali fled Tunisia for Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2011. His rapid departure sparked a string of similar uprisings across the region, toppling Egyptian and Libyan strongmen Hosni Mubarak and Moamer Gaddafi.

The turmoil triggered what was to become Syria's devastating eight-year war.

In mid-2012, Ben Ali was sentenced in absentia to life in jail for his role in the deaths of protesters during the uprising that ousted him. Little information has emerged on his life in exile.

Photos posted on Instagram in 2013 showed the former strongman smiling in striped pyjamas. Rumours of his death had circulated several times in recent years.

A week ago, Ben Salha said the former president was in a "critical condition", before denying reports that he had died.

"He is not dead, but his state of health is bad. He has left hospital and is currently being cared for at his home his condition is stabilising", the lawyer said at the time.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said last week that on humanitarian grounds Ben Ali could return to die in his own country "like every Tunisian" should he wish to do so.

Ben Ali is survived by six children; three daughters by a first marriage and two daughters and a son by Leila Trabelsi.

A career soldier, Ben Ali took power on November 7, 1987 when he toppled Habib Bourguiba, the ailing father of Tunisian independence who was by then reported to be senile.

Tunisians, including Islamists, hailed his bloodless, non-violent takeover.

He went on to make Tunisia a moderate voice in the Arab world while Western governments viewed him as an effective bulwark against extremism despite criticism of his slow move toward democracy.

Ben Ali was also sentenced in absentia to misappropriating public funds and ordering the torture of army officers who allegedly led a coup attempt against him.

Tunisia on Sunday held a presidential election, in which two outsiders law professor Kais Saied and detained media mogul Nabil Karoui made it through to a second round run-off.

The country's first post Arab Spring democratically elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, died in July aged 92, bringing the first round of the presidential polls forward by several months.

Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.

Read full article
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp

Live TV

Countdown To Elections Results
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results