On April 13, 2011, Tunisian Justice Minister Lazhar Karoui Chebbi announced that the government had charged former president Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali with 18 offenses ranging from murder and conspiracy to trafficking and drug use. The charges stemmed from allegations that Ben Ali authorized the use of force against protesters during the Tunisian revolution, resulting in the more than 200 deaths. Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after he declared a state of emergency and stepped down from power amid nationwide protests in January 2011. Ben Ali's trial began on January 3, 2012, with the former leader being tried in absentia. Ben Ali was previously tried and convicted in absentia on charges including corruption in June 2011 and torture in December 2011.
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