Up for Auction: Ousted Dictator's Bling
Tunisia's Ben Ali must watch from afar as his stuff gets sold
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2012 10:35 AM CST
Tunisia's ousted leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in a 2008 file photo.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)

(Newser) – It's one thing to lose your job as dictator in a popular uprising. But to see all your belongings—from your 40 luxury cars to your miniature golden sphinxes to your wife's treadmill—go to the highest bidder? That's the fate being suffered by former Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, reports AFP. The nation today beings a 30-day auction of all his "ill-gotten" belongings and hopes to bring in about $13 million, reports AP. Ben Ali, now in exile in Saudi Arabia, was the first leader to fall in the 2011 Arab Spring.

The Guardian notes that the jubilation that followed his ouster has long since subsided:

  • "Times are hard for many this winter, however. Protests in poorer regions continue to discourage investment, taking unemployment to new highs in some towns and adding weight to arguments that the Islamist-led government lacks economic expertise. A shortage of milk in supermarkets is adding to the sombre public mood ..."