World Bulletin / News Desk
Tunisian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted by an "orchestrated" coup but would be ready to face a "fair" trial in his homeland, the former president's wife said in an interview with French daily Le Parisien published on Sunday.
Ben Ali, who fled with his wife to Saudi Arabia as protests swept Tunisia on Jan. 14, 2011, has already been sentenced in his absence to decades in jail for the killing of hundreds of protesters in the central towns where the Arab Spring began.
"I wouldn't describe them as protests," Leila Trabelsi told Le Parisien in what it said was her first interview since leaving Tunisia.
"For me it was an orchestrated, masterminded and planned coup d'etat, but I don't know who led it."
She said she did not believe "at all" it had been a spontaneous revolution born out of youth frustration.
The newspaper said the interview was carried out via Skype from Ben Ali's secret location in Saudi Arabia.
Tunisia's government has faced persistent criticism over its failure to persuade Riyadh to hand over Ben Ali and Trabelsi, a former hairdresser whose lavish lifestyle and clique of wealthy relatives had come to be seen by many Tunisians as symbols of Ben Ali's corrupt rule.
The former president has also been charged with crimes ranging from corruption to torture.
Trabelsi denied the accusations her husband had ordered the shootings of over 300 people in last year's revolution.
She also questioned why the Islamist-led government that swept to power in Tunisia last year had refused to allow telephone recordings between Ben Ali and the defence and interior ministries to be handed over as evidence.
"I can only regret the loss of life and I offer my sincere condolences to those families," she is quoted as saying.
Riyadh has declined to comment on Ben Ali's extradition and there have been consistent rumours about his health.
Le Parisien said the 75-year-old had briefly shown himself behind his wife during the interview wearing a white polo shirt.
Trabelsi, who admits there could have been more political freedom during her husband's rule, read a message from him saying he regretted Tunisians had forgotten that under his 23-year-rule the country had modernised and everybody had seen their standard of living improve.
"We are ready to face justice as soon as it is fair and without excesses or favours," said Trabelsi, whose book "My Truth" was released last week.
"Sadly, that is not the case today."
Speaking of events on the day they left the country, she said that at no point had they envisaged leaving for good and that her husband had called her suggesting they travel to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage to "let things calm down."
"My husband was already at the airport and (security chief) Ali Seriati did everything to convince him to leave even though he didn't want to. We had no luggage, money or passports," she said.
Muslim cleric called for protests in Egypt on the anniversary of the country's Jan 25 uprising against Hosni Mubarak and said Mohamed Mursi is Egypt's "legitimate" leader
Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for the state governor, said the militants released young men, women and children who were kidnapped on Jan 6
"Russia have just blocked a (Security Council) statement by refusing to include condemnation of recent provocative public statements by the separatists," a council diplomat said
The government says Nisman's allegations and his death were linked to a power struggle at Argentina's intelligence agency and agents who had recently been fired.
Barack Obama begins a historic India trip where he will become first US president to be chief guest at India's Republic Day parade
European leaders eye the results fo the elections closely as a Syriza victory may generate a clash with the Troika -- the EU, European Central Bank and the IMF -- which could possibly start a new crisis between the nation and its creditors, with the euro in the balance.
Several hundred demonstrators gather in Manhattan to protest Egypt's president Sisi on fourth anniversary of Jan. 25 Revolution.
Rope attached to lifting bag connected to fuselage snaps in waves of 2-3 meters, the section of the plane returning to the seabed.
The blast targeted policemen stationed outside a sports club in Cairo's Heliopolis area, the security sources said.
Parliamentary sources said that the postponement of the session is intended to make room for further negotiations among all factions to reach a political solution
The bodies of the five troops were found on a road between the southern districts of Abu Najim and Jufra, near the site where they had been kidnapped
Islamic Front military commander issues ultimatum to Bashar al-Assad regime calling it to stop attacks on suburb of capital Damascus or else opposition fighters would attack regime positions with rockets
They accused the Lebanese regime of being "complicit" in the war now being waged by the Syrian regime against the Syrian people
The Muslim Brotherhood's former spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlan, had disappeared soon after Egyptian police evicted Morsi-backing protest camps in Cairo and Giza in August of 2013.
Algeria's deputy foreign minister for African affairs Abdel-Qadir Mesahel met in Algiers with a Turkish delegation led by Emrullah Isler to discuss the crisis in Libya
Zambia's ruling party candidate Edgar Lungu secured a narrow victory in this week's presidential poll, defeating his closest rival who said the election had been "stolen".