Ben Ali Contests Seizure Of Property In Tunisia – AFP

Tunisia’s ousted president Zine al Abidine Ben Ali plans to take a complaint about the seizure of his property to a United Nations committee, his lawyer said yesterday.

In a statement, Akram Azoury condemned “the illegal actions of the Tunisian authorities who have confiscated all the fixed and moveable assets of president Ben Ali, including his personal house,” under a decree signed by then interim president Fouad Mebazaa last March 14.

The announcement came as Tunisians were preparing today to celebrate the toppling of Ben Ali a year ago on January 14, when he fled the country following weeks of street protests.

“It isn’t possible to confiscate somebody’s belongings except after a court ruling respecting the norms of a free trial and the right to a defence,” Azoury said, denouncing “an abusive measure contrary to the constitution and Tunisian laws.”

“President Ben Ali intends to lodge a complaint against the Tunisian authorities with the Human Rights Committee in Geneva,” he concluded.

The committee can hear complaints from individuals concerning breaches of civil and political rights by a state party to the relevant protocol, according to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki will pardon more than 1,000 prisoners on today’s anniversary, the justice ministry said. Priority will be given to aged people and adolescents and some other detainees will benefit from conditional release and reduced sentences.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, and the head of Libya’s National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, will take part in today’s events.

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