TUNIS: The exiled brother-in-law of ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali regrets his role in the dictatorship and is prepared to face justice at home, news reports said Friday, quoting an open letter.
“I have written this letter to apologize, even if I know that in the eyes of many Tunisians, if not all of them, I am unfairly considered a criminal who looted the country before fleeing abroad,” wrote Belhassen Trabelsi, thought to have headed a clan that embezzled government funds.
“If I made mistakes I am prepared to offer an account and appear before the courts, even if I never had the intention of harming my country or my people,” said the brother of Ben Ali’s despised wife Leila.
In the letter, authenticated by his lawyer, “citizen Belhassen Trabelsi” says he invested his fortune in the north African country, creating around 4,000 jobs.
Trabelsi, who has been in Montreal since fleeing the uprising in January 2011, faces a review of his immigration status in Canada on April 23.
The Tunisian authorities have asked Ottawa to arrest him.
Ben Ali, for his part, is in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia has accepted that Riyadh will probably never extradite him to his homeland, President Moncef Marzouki said last month.
Tunisia’s revolution sparked a string of regional uprisings which ousted the rulers of Egypt, Libya and Yemen.