Former Tunisian Planning and Economics Minister Ahmed Ben Salah appeared in a heavily-guarded High Court in Tunis today (Tuesday) charged with high treason.
SV Madame Ben Salah PAN to GV People
SV Country's emblem
SCU Defence counsel
SCU First two accused
SV Remainder of the accused walk in (2 shots)
??? Accused seated
SV PAN judges
SV Defence counsel speaks
SV Accused seated Ben Salah third from right
SV Accused speak (5 shots)
GV Judge speaks
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Background: Former Tunisian Planning and Economics Minister Ahmed Ben Salah appeared in a heavily-guarded High Court in Tunis today (Tuesday) charged with high treason. Six alleged accomplices - three of M. Ban Salah's closest associates among them -appeared alongside him in court.
M. Ben Salah, once considered the probable successor to President Habib Bourguiba, is accused of plotting to gain power, falsifying statistics and of budgetary irregularities involving about 1,130 million francs (94 million sterling) to make up deficits.
He faces a possible death penalty if convicted of the charges, laid after a parliamentary commission investigated the former minister's action during his five years in office. He lost his cabinet seat last November.
Before the hearing began, M. Ben Salah leaned over the defence bench and said to his wife: "He who works hard is considered a traitor".
Those accused with him include a former Under Secretary of State for Commerce and Industry, a former President of the National Union Co-operation, and a one-time Assistant-Director of the Destourian Socialist Party's Political Bureau.