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Tunisia allows ex-dictator Ben Ali to be buried at home

The Tunisian government on Friday said it would allow the country’s late autocrat Zine-Abidine Ben-Ali to be buried in his homeland after his death in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Ben Ali
Ben Ali

Ben Ali died on Thursday at a Saudi hospital at the age of 83, according to his lawyer.

A 2011 popular revolt had forced Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia.

“The government will respond to a request for burying the ex-president in Tunisia in case his family asks for this,” an unnamed source in the government told Tunisia’s state news agency TAP late Thursday.

“The government will work to ensure that the funeral arrangements will be conducted under the best circumstances,” the source said.

There has been no comment from Ben Ali’s family.

Before his death, he had asked to be buried in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, according to Tunisia media.

There has been yet no official word in Saudi Arabia about his funeral.

Earlier this month, Ben Ali was admitted to a hospital in Saudi Arabia due to an unspecified illness.

He governed Tunisia for 23 years, and his tenure was marred by massive human rights abuses and a draconian crackdown on dissent.

Ben Ali’s death came days after Tunisia held its second democratic presidential election since his ouster.

Tunisia was the birthplace of 2010 to 2011 Arab Spring Revolts that also saw the toppling of dictators in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

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