A military court in Tunisia sentenced ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to 20 years imprisonment in absentia for provocations of killings, unrest and robberies in Tunisia, the TAP news agency reported.
The former Tunisian president was toppled from power in early 2011 after more than 20 years in office.
The military court published its verdict early in the morning in the case known as Ouardanine. It dealt with the death of four young people who were killed by bullets during the violence that rocked the city of Ouardanine, Al Munastir, in mid-January 2011.
On the January 15-16, 2011, after Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, four demonstrators were killed while trying to prevent the escape of Kais Ben Ali, nephew of the deposed president.
According to local and international Human rights organizations figures, more than 300 people were killed and many others wounded in the former government crackdown on protests over corruption, unemployment, and high food prices.
The victims' families accused law enforcement agents of giving the order to fire on demonstrators. The days that followed the flight of Ben Ali had been marked by chaos and violence, and many atrocities were committed by armed militiamen. Kais Ben Ali was arrested March 14 in Sousse.
Fifteen members of the security forces were also pursued in this case and sentences of 5 to 10 years imprisonment were imposed by the military court, according to TAP. Some of the defendants are on the run.
The court also granted compensation to the families of the victims ranging between 150,000 and 200,000 dinars (75,000 euros and 100,000).
The conviction in the case of Ouardanine took place when another military tribunal, in Kef (west of Tunis), is set to rule shortly in the "case of the Thala and Kasserine martyrs." A death penalty is sought against Mr. Ben Ali, charged with complicity in the murder of 22 demonstrators killed in January 2011 in the central region of the country.
Former President Ben Ali has already accumulated several sentences, including 66 years in prison for embezzlement, drug trafficking and abuse of public property. Saudi Arabia has refused to hand over Ben Ali and his wife despite the fact that they are the subject of an international arrest warrant.to Tunisian authorities
Meanwhile, interior ministry official in Tunis told BBC reporter that the government has declared an overnight curfew on eight regions, including the capital, in the wake of serious rioting.
The overnight curfew came after several violent attacks in protest at an art exhibition by Islamists known as Salafists , criminal gangs and former regime supporters, TAP news reported.