Former Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has been sentenced, in absentia, to 35 years in jail by a court in Tunis.
His wife, Leila Trabelsi has also been sentenced to 35 years in prison. The couple has also been fined 45 million euros for theft and the unlawful possession of cash and jewellery.
The decision was reached after just one day of deliberation.
The judge said that the verdict on other charges, relating to the illegal possession of drugs and weapons, would be handed down on June 30
The man who ruled Tunisia for 23 years fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14 after mass protests drove him from power and inspired the “Arab Spring.”
In a statement delivered to the court by his lawyer Ben Ali claimed he was tricked into leaving Tunisia. He said he boarded a plane to Jeddah with his family and was due to return, but the aircraft took off leaving him stranded in Saudi Arabia.
Ben Ali has denied ordering police to fire on protesters.