Seychelles grants asylum to Ben Ali's kin
16 April 2013, 13:41
Victoria - The Seychelles have granted a year's asylum to
the son-in-law of Tunisia's deposed dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, officials
said late on Monday.
Sakhr El Materi, who was convicted in absentia of corruption
by a Tunisian court, appealed for asylum in the Indian Ocean archipelago in
Materi and his family "have been granted a 12 month
residence permit in Seychelles", a statement from the immigration
The Seychelles said that while the country's law "does
not make specific provisions for political asylum", the residence permit
was issued because they believed Materi would not receive justice in his home
"The government of Seychelles has not satisfied itself
that the conditions exist in Tunisia at this point for a free and fair trial if
Mr El Materi were to be repatriated back to face the charges set out against
him there," the statement added.
Materi first fled to Qatar just before the overthrow of his
father-in-law's regime in 2011, but the Gulf emirate agreed to expel him in
In December he travelled briefly to the Seychelles, leaving
after he was questioned by police for trying to enter on an expired diplomatic
passport, but returned to Victoria in January.
Tunisian officials have said they would do everything to get
Life in prison
Ben Ali and his close family used to go on holiday to the
Seychelles in secret prior to the revolution.
Said to be the ex-dictator's favourite son-in-law and long
seen as a possible successor, Materi was sentenced in absentia to 16 years in prison
and fined $61m for corruption and property fraud.
Married to Ben Ali's eldest daughter Nesrine, the
businessman owned Princess Holding and was active in virtually every economic
His properties have either been confiscated or placed under
The north African country has repeatedly asked Saudi Arabia,
where Ben Ali took refuge with his wife Leila Trabelsi after they fled Tunisia
on in January 2011, to extradite him.
Ben Ali has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison for
presiding over the bloody protest crackdown that ignited the Arab Spring, and
convicted on other charges that include incitement to murder, embezzlement and
abuse of power.