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Tunisia asks Interpol to help arrest leader-in-exile

Tunisia requested an international arrest warrant yesterday for its ousted president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali as a minister revealed that 11,000 prisoners had escaped during the unrest which continues nearly two weeks after a tumultuous uprising.

Mr Ben Ali is wanted on charges of illegally taking money out of Tunisia and unlawfully acquiring real estate and other assets abroad.

Anger at his regime continues to resonate on the streets, with police yesterday firing tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters furious that the hastily cobbled-|together interim government includes ministers who served under the |deposed president.

Justice Minister Lazhar Karoui Chebbi said Tunisia had sought Interpol's help to arrest Mr Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia on the night of January 14 as thousands of protesters thronged the streets of Tunis demanding an end to his 23-year autocratic rule.

In other moves yesterday to placate irate demonstrators, Mr Chebbi said six members of the presidential guard would be put on trial for inciting violence, while the state news agency |reported that another ministerial reshuffle was on the cards, with the interior, defence and foreign minister |expected to go.

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