Assets of Ben Ali and his entourage in Switzerland will remain frozen even after expiration of freeze measure (I Watch)
18/01/2021 20:38, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - The assets of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his entourage, frozen by the Swiss authorities, will remain frozen even after the expiration of the administrative freeze decided by the Swiss Federal Council expiring on Monday evening, said president of "I Watch" Organisation Achref Aouadi.

During its weekly session on Friday, December 8, 2020, the Swiss Federal Council announced that the freeze on the assets in Switzerland of deposed President Ben Ali and his entourage will expire in January 2021, after having reached the legal maximum duration of ten years, Swiss media reported.

Contacted on the phone by TAP, Aouadi said that the measures to freeze the assets of the former president and his family in Switzerland were taken under two ordinances. The first one is issued by the Swiss Federal Council and the second one in the framework of mutual legal assistance procedures.

He added that the freezing of Ben Ali's assets pronounced by the Swiss judicial authorities within the framework of criminal and mutual legal assistance procedures remains in force throughout the judicial process of cases relating to the confiscation and return of Tunisian assets in Switzerland.

In this context, the president of "I Watch" emphasized the imperative for the Tunisian judicial parties to render final and enforceable judgments so that the assets frozen by the Swiss authorities can be returned within the framework of Tunisian-Swiss mutual legal assistance.

The Swiss authorities had ordered the preventive freezing of the assets in Switzerland of Ben Ali and his entourage on January 19, 2011. The legal deadline of that freeze can be up to ten years.

Several civil society organisations have called on President Kais Saied to request an extension of the freeze in the framework of judicial cooperation between Tunisia and Switzerland.

These organizations deplored the fact that successive governments have not properly addressed the issue of the restitution of looted assets which is "a priority issue" for all Tunisians.

Completing the process of restitution of Tunisian state property is "a moral duty" to Tunisians, according to the text of the declaration signed by ten associations, including Lawyers without Borders, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, Al-Bawsala, the "Tunisian Network of Transitional Justice".

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