Police arrested 33 family members of ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali Wednesday for alleged “crimes against Tunisia”, national TV reported. The broadcasters showed items of gold jewellery apparently recovered from the relatives’ homes.
REUTERS - Thirty-three members of deposed Tunisian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's family have been arrested on suspicion of "crimes against Tunisia", Tunisian television said on Wednesday.
The station showed gold and jewellery it said was found in their possession, including gold necklaces and earrings inlaid with precious stones.
"Investigations will be carried out in order for them to face justice," a statement read out on state television said, citing an "official source". The statement apologised for not giving more details about the family members.
Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia last week after a popular uprising over poverty, corruption and political repression in a country he and his family had long dominated.
Ben Ali's wife Leila Trabelsi and her family have been the object of much anger and derision among Tunisians for their wealth and extensive grip on the economy of the North African country of 10 million.
The Tunisian press -- enjoying unprecedented freedoms after years of state control -- has carried numerous reports saying 'The Family', as Tunisians refer to them, had absconded from the country with large sums of money and gold.
State television also said investigations were ongoing surrounding General Ali Seriati, Ben Ali's head of presidential security who authorities said had been arrested.