Quiet burial for Tunisia's former dictator

Tunisia's late autocrat Zine Abidine Ben Ali, deposed by a 2011 revolt, has been buried in exile in Saudi Arabia, according to his lawyer Mounir Ben Salha.

The 83-year-old was laid to rest in a grave in the Saudi holy city of Medina on Saturday, Ben Salha told dpa.

Ben Ali died on Thursday at a Saudi hospital from an unspecified illness.

He had rarely been in public since he and his family fled to Saudi Arabia in January 2011.

A ceremony to accept condolences for his death is to be held in the home of his wife's sister in the capital Tunis on Sunday, according to a notice published by his family in the Tunisian French-language newspaper La Presse.

His lawyer also said on Saturday that Ben Ali's family would not return to their homeland for legal reasons.

"They will not return as long as there are verdicts in place against them," Ben Salha added.

After his overthrow, Ben Ali was in tried in absentia in Tunisia and received jail sentence in different cases related to protester deaths and corruption.

His wife and two daughters were also convicted in absentia and given prison terms on corruption charges.

Ben Ali had governed Tunisia for a period of 23 years marred by massive human rights abuses and a draconian crackdown on dissent.

Tunisia was the birthplace of the 2010-11 Arab Spring Revolts that also saw the toppling of dictators in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

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