Tunisian ex-dictator’s brother-in-law dies

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — The imprisoned brother-in-law of Tunisia’s ousted dictator has died after attempts to operate on a brain tumor, a prison official said Friday.

Ridha Zaghdoud, of the penitentiary administration, said Moncef Trabelsi suffered from a number of chronic ailments and had been hospitalized several times before the unsuccessful operation.

Trabelsi, 68, who was the brother of deposed dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s wife Leila, had been imprisoned on Jan. 14, 2011 trying to leave the country with several relatives, following the president’s own departure in the face of a popular uprising.

His lawyer Wissam Saidi said Trabelsi had been in a coma for the past week and died Thursday night.

Trabelsi was tried and convicted of several charges of embezzlement and other financial irregularities.

The Trabelsi family had a vast stake in the North African nation’s economy, with interests in everything from tourist hotels to banks, car dealerships and broadcasting.

Corruption in Ben Ali’s inner circle fueled anger at his regime and eventually led to his flight into exile, an outcome that spurred popular uprisings across the Arab world.

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