Swiss lawyer seeks freeze on any Ben Ali assets
A Swiss lawyer on Monday filed a legal request to freeze any assets held by Tunisia's ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Switzerland amid political pressure for a government freeze.
Ridha Ajmi told AFP he had also asked for international arrest warrants against Ben Ali, his wife Leila Trabelsi and former interior minister Rafik Bel Hadji Kacem, claiming they had been involved in ordering police to open fire on protestors.
The move came after the Swiss Socialist Party said in a statement on Sunday that it would ask the government to freeze any Ben Ali accounts during a parliamentary foreign affairs commission meeting early this week.
A government spokesman told AFP that it was keeping watch on the situation and that "no decision has been taken on this matter."
Ajmi, who is of Tunisian origin, said following a report on Swiss radio RSR that he was acting on behalf of about 30 people.
"We are asking for a criminal inquiry to determine whether or not funds that belong to the Tunisian people have been diverted... to private accounts or companies."
He also confirmed a formal request for an arrest warrant, saying that "about 100 Tunisian people died including a Swiss citizen."
The Swiss foreign ministry confirmed last Thursday that a dual Swiss-Tunisian national was killed in Tunisia, after Swiss radio RSR reported that she was shot during a demonstration in the northern town of Dar Chaabane.
The prosecutor's office said Monday it was examining the requests from the lawyer.
Tunisian associations in Switzerland also called for a freeze while several people stood outside HSBC bank's subsidiary in the city of Geneva saying they aimed to prevent Ben Ali's associates from withdrawing funds, Swiss television TSR reported.
© 2011 AFP