The brother-in-law of the exiled Tunisian dictator Ben Ali wants refugee status from the Canadian government, according to official reports.
The billionaire business tycoon, Belhassen Trabelsi, fled to Canada last week when an uprising in Tunisia forced his sister’s husband from power.
He arrived in the country by private plane with his wife, four children and their nanny.
Trabelsi is accused in Tunisia of charges ranging from property theft to the illegal transfer of foreign currency.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon had earlier suggested the government would comply with an extradition request, but has now said that Canada would have to consider Trabelsi’s case, even though he is unwelcome in the country.
“We have indicated that these people are not welcome in Canada,” the foreign minister told the on Saturday, “but obviously, that having been stated, Canada is nonetheless a country that has legislation, we do abide by the rule of law.”
Trabelsi’s request for refugee status will be denied in all likelihood, but its process through the courts could take years.