Daniel Halliday
Sep 28 · Last update 1 mo. ago.

What legacy does Tunisian President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali leave behind?

Tunisian former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali died on the 19th of September 2019 living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia after being ousted during the Tunisian Revolution, the initial uprising of the Arab Spring, ending Ben Ali’s 23 year long reign as President. Despite ending his career in exile, Ben Ali oversaw a fairly stable period of Tunisia’s history, the country having a high human development index, the only fully democratic state in the Arab World, and North Africa’s only “free state” according to Freedom House. So what is Ben Ali’s legacy? Why did his rule inspire the Arab Spring? And how has Tunisia remained so comparatively stable?
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His legacy lives on in the current Tunisian government
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He died wanted for a string of crimes
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His legacy lives on in the current Tunisian government

Despite Zine El Abidine Ben Ali dying in exile his legacy never left the country with him, in many ways the current Tunisian government is a continuation of his regime. Following the 2014 Tunisian revolution the Truth and Dignity Commission was setup to investigate the human rights violations of the Ben Ali regime, attempting to hold the guilty parties to account for extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances and excessive use of force against protesters in Tunisia’s Arab Spring Uprising. But despite receiving more than 62,000 complaints of serious human rights violations, Tunisian courts have failed to prosecute anyone in regard to these atrocities. Most cases have been continually postponed as the accused refuse to appear in court, but the absence of accountability demonstrates the virulent nature of corrupt regimes such as Ben Ali, as many of Ben Ali's associates still retain positions of power.

aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/ben-ali-dead-regime-190924135828535.html aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2015/12/tunisian-revolution-151215102459580.html

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Daniel Halliday
Apr 26
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He died wanted for a string of crimes

Whatever stability occurred during the reign of Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali he will undoubtedly be remembered for his troubled final years, and most spectacularly for the long list of crimes he was wanted and found guilty in absentia of. Shortly after fleeing the country the interim government issues an international arrest warrant for the ex-President accusing him of illegally taking money out of the country to acquire real estate and other assets overseas. Interpol issued an arrest warrant days later for Ben Ali, and his family, for similar charges, but Saudi Arabia refused all extradition requests. Ben Ali’s trial went ahead despite his absence, he was found guilty of unlawful possession of large amounts of foreign currency, jewellery, archaeological artefacts, drugs and weapons, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Ben Ali died a wanted man and that will be how he is remembered.

theguardian.com/world/2011/jun/20/ben-ali-sentenced-35-years-jail huffpost.com/entry/zine-el-abidine-ben-ali-former-tunisia-president-jail-sentence-_n_880696 smh.com.au/world/interpol-pursues-toppled-president-20110127-1a6vx.html

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Daniel Halliday
Sep 28
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