Lawyers for Tunisia's ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali withdrew from his trial in absentia on drugs and weapons charges on Monday, saying their client was not being treated fairly.
Ben Ali's ouster in January after weeks of protest inspired uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world. The former leader, who is now in Saudi Arabia, has already been sentenced to 35 years in prison on other charges.
At Monday's hearing, one of his lawyers, Husni Beji, asked the judge for a delay so that he could persuade Ben Ali to return to Tunisia to face trial. Judge Touhami Hafian refused to grant the petition.
"In that case we are withdrawing from this hearing, which does not meet the right to a fair trial," the lawyer said, after which the judge adjourned the hearing.
Members of the public in the courtroom shouted at Ben Ali's lawyers: "Get out! You have betrayed Tunisia by defending Ben Ali!" and "You should have defended the young people killed by Ben Ali's weapons!"
The judge resumed the hearing a short while later, without Ben Ali's defence lawyers present, and began reading the accusations against the former president.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 04 Temmuz 2011, 13:44