Original testimony of a member of the clan Ben Ali

The most well-known members of the clan Trabelsi, who had put the tunisian economy under cup, set during the dictatorship of Ben Ali, was delivered Friday evening a original testimony on the corruption at the time, apologizing to the tunisian people.

The story of Imed Trabelsi, nephew of the wife of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has been registered in the prison where he has been since the revolution of 2011. It was broadcasted by the national tv during a hearing organised by the Instance Truth and Dignity (IVD), in charge of identifying violations of Human rights in recent decades.

White shirt and grey hair, visibly thinned, Imed Trabelsi, 42 years old, told for an hour and a half how he became one of the barons of the country under Ben Ali, describing a system of well-oiled thanks to the complicity of customs officials, senior officials, and ministers.


“We had a virtual monopoly on the banana trade”, thus said one who was present also in the real estate and alcohol. If another business man was trying to make him the competition, “we bloquions” its loading. “Customs officials who worked with us were working on our boat, ( … ), they were blocking the interests of many people and we only left our goods, before all the world,” he added, saying to have given bribes of up to 30’000 dinars (over 11’000 euros).

Concerning the high-ranking officials, Imed Trabelsi was assured that some had the zeal to do well see by relatives of Ben Ali, as his son-in-law Sakher el-Materi. “Managers who want to discard completely their responsibilities, this is not true”, he let go. As for the situation today, “there has been a revolution, but nothing has changed to my knowledge,” said Imed Trabelsi. “I’ve got my echoes, and the same system (of corruption) is still operational.”

To conclude, he said, “and apologize from the bottom of the heart” and wanting to “turn the page”. “Seven years have passed, I want it to ends. My daughter was ten months when I left her, it was eight years ago today (…). I want my freedom”, he said.

“National reconciliation”

After the 2011 revolution, Ben Ali and his wife Leïla Trabelsi fled Tunisia for exile in saudi Arabia. They were sentenced in absentia to long prison sentences. Imed Trabelsi, has also been sentenced to multiple sentences, including for fraud.

In addition to the violations of Human rights such as torture and rape, the IVD is empowered to look into the crimes of financial corruption. Imed Trabelsi has submitted a request to its arbitration commission, in which he acknowledges his wrongs and says that he is ready to return the amounts illegally collected.

If his case is settled, the convictions against him will be cancelled, under the title of “national reconciliation”. But said Imed Trabelsi, the head of litigation of the State, which must necessarily be part of the agreement, has not ceased to defer the case these last few months.

This hearing comes at a time when the tunisian Parliament has resumed the consideration of a draft law championed by president Beji Caid Essebsi, which provides for the amnesty of the facts of corruption in exchange of a compensation. This project is highly criticized by civil society, after that it “whitens corrupt”, and the IVD repeat that it is cutting its prerogatives. (afp/nxp)

Created: 20.05.2017, 02h39

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