TUNIS (AFP) – An exiled son-in-law of deposed Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali returned to the capital Tuesday to challenge a jail sentence for having a gun, his lawyer told AFP.
Businessman Slim Chiboub, who has been living in the United Arab Emirates since Ben Ali fled Tunisia in January 2011 during a popular uprising, had been sentenced in absentia to five years in jail for illegal possession of a firearm.
“He arrived at Enfidha airport” south of Tunis, Chiboub’s lawyer Wissem Saidi said, before going “straight to the court in Tunis to challenge the ruling.
“We will of course ask for a dismissal of the case and for his release.”
An AFP journalist said Chiboub turned himself in in the mid-morning.
The former president of one of Tunisia’s most popular football clubs, Esperance, Chiboub announced his intention to return home in an interview published last week.
“I am going to try to turn the page on the past so I can live in peace with my family in my own society,” he told the weekly Jeune Afrique.
“There are cases to be settled, and I have confidence in the outcome. I will accept the decisions of Tunisian democratic justice.”
On Monday, asked about the timing of his return ahead of a November 23 presidential election in which several former Ben Ali stalwarts are standing, he told France 24 television: “Today, the justice system is independent – that’s my guarantee.”