The man who presided over the crackdown that ignited the Arab Spring was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday, June 13. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for the Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who has been living in exile in Saudi Arabia. He fled after his ouster, following a clampdown that resulted in the death of 22 people. Civilian judge Chokri Mejri said at the end of the 6-month trial, “We tried to hand down a fair verdict, and nobody put any pressure on us. We were only guided by God and our own personal conviction.” Ben Ali’s ouster launched a wave of protests in the Middle East and North Africa seeking for more democracy and freedom. Known as the Arab Spring, it continues to sweep the region.
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