Tunisia Arrests Kin of Booted Prez

Corrupt in-laws caught trying to flee country
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2011 4:23 AM CST
The living room of the looted house of Imed Trabelsi, the nephew of the former first lady, is seen north of Tunis.   (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
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(Newser) – Tunisia has arrested 33 members of the country's despised former first family. The relatives of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali were caught trying to flee the country with large amounts of valuables, reports the Financial Times. The clan of former first lady Leila Trabelsi had a huge amount of control over Tunisia's economy and were widely hated as symbols of corruption and excess, AP notes.

Soon after Ben Ali and his wife fled the country, businesses and homes belonging to the Trabelsi clan were looted and burned. The ex-leader's bank accounts and other assets have been frozen by the Swiss. The arrested family members are accused of "crimes against Tunisia," according to state television. A Tunis Air pilot has become a national hero for refusing to take off while five members of the Trabelsi clan were on board a flight to France.

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