Even as speculation swirled over the critical illness, and possibly death, of the deposed ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the interim government of Tunisia has asked Saudi Arabia to extradite him.

The Tunisian foreign ministry said on Sunday the government wants Ben Ali to be tried for the violent crackdown on demonstrations which killed more than 100 people last month.

Ben Ali will be tried for committing and inciting homicide and sowing discord between citizens of the country, according to a foreign ministry statement.

Ben Ali fled the country he ruled for 23 years on January 14, but according to reports, he has fallen gravely ill while in exile in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.

According to media reports, Ben Ali is in coma after suffering a stroke. There have also been rumors about his possible death in exile.

More than 4,000 unforgiving Tunisians rallied in Tunis on Sunday, calling for the end of the transition government, and the decision to request Ben Ali's extradition was apparently taken to pacify the people.