Arab rights group condemns Saudi Arabia for receiving ousted Ben Ali

On Saturday a Cairo-based Arab human rights organization condemned Saudi Arabia for hosting ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

"We regret and strongly reject Saudi Arabia’s hosting of Tunisia’s dictator,” said the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information in a statement. “Ben Ali must be handed over to the Tunisian judiciary to stand trial for crimes committed against the people of Tunisia.”

On the same day Saudi Arabia confirmed that the former Tunisian president and his family had arrived in Jeddah to stay for an unspecified period of time.

A surge of popular protests over police repression and poverty swept Tunisia's veteran leader from power on Friday, sending a chill through unpopular authoritarian governments across the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia said that it supports the will of the Tunisian people, and the royal court's decision to welcome Ben Ali was based on appreciation of the "exceptional circumstances" Tunisia is going through.

Saudi Arabia has a history of receiving deposed rulers and out-of-favor politicians. The former dictator of Uganda Idi Amin spent his final years in Jeddah.

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