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Tunisia issues warrant for Yasser Arafat widow

The Tunisia State News Agency (TAP) [official website] announced Monday that the Tunisian Justice Ministry has issued a warrant [TAP report] for Suha Arafat, the widow for former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat [JURIST news archive]. The warrant was issued last week as "part of a corruption case related to ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his relatives as well as several government officials." Ben Ali [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] left office [JURIST report] in January amid nationwide protests against his regime. Reports indicate [AP report] that the warrant was not for Arafat's arrest, but to bring her in for questioning as a potential witness or suspect linked with financial corruption surrounding the former president. Arafat denies having any relation to the case [TAP report].

Since leaving office, Ben Ali and his associates have been embroiled in legal controversy. In August, members of Ben Ali's family were convicted [JURIST report] of aiding the former president's flight from Tunisia following his ouster. In June, Ben Ali [JURIST report] and his nephew [JURIST report] were convicted in absentia on charges of financial corruption and were given sentences of 35 and 15 years respectively. In April, Ben Ali was charged [JURIST report] with 18 offenses related to the use of force against protesters during the Tunisian revolution. In January, an arrest warrant for Ben Ali, his wife and other family members was issued [JURIST report] for illegal money transfers and the incitement of armed violence.

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