The trial of former Tunisian Oresident Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali will start on 20 June.

Ben Ali fled Tunisia on 14 January following weeks of protests against his regime. He is currently thought to be in Saudi Arabia having suffered a stroke in February, according to family members.

In April, Tunisia’s interim government began preparing charges against Ben Ali, his family and inner circle, including drug trafficking and voluntary manslaughter (MEED 14:4:11).

Tunisian authorities are also looking into conspiring against the state, cases of murder, abuse of power, trafficking of archaeological artefacts and money laundering.

The first charges will relate to the discovery of $27m in cash, weapons and drugs in presidential palaces.

Ben Ali has released a statement through his French lawyer, which says the trial is a “masquerade”. Tunisia’s Justice Ministry will now seek to extradite Ben Ali from Saudi Arabia along with his wife.