Authorities in Tunisia said they are seeking to formally file eighteen separate charges against former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, including voluntary manslaughter and drug-trafficking.
The country’s Justice Minister Lazhar Karoui Chebbi said he will file a total of 44 charges to be made against Ben Ali, members of his family and some former ministers.
Ben Ali, who was deposed by anti-government demonstrations in January, is believed to be living in exile in Saudi Arabia. An international arrest warrant for Ben Ali is still in force.
Tunisian officials have reportedly arrested almost three dozen relatives of Ben Ali, on suspicions of graft and corruption. They remain in detention.
Chebbi said the current interim government has asked Interpol to freeze Ben Ali’s assets and to assist the Tunisian government in arresting him. He also wants to extradite Ben Ali so he can stand trial.
Ben Ali was also accused of ordering his troops to brutally crackdown on protesters during the uprising. The United Nations estimates that 219 people died during the revolt (including 72 in prisons), while the Tunis government gave a far lower estimate of casualties.
Despite Ben Ali’s escape three months ago, protesters have mounted almost daily demonstrations demanding the prosecution of the former president.