Residency of Tunisian leader's relative revoked

Belhassen Trabelsi, who is the brother-in-law of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's former dictator, is believed to be in a hotel on the outskirts of Montreal. ((CBC))

CBC News has learned the federal government has revoked the Canadian residency held by the ousted Tunisian president's brother-in-law, Belhassen Trabelsi.

Trabelsi and his family arrived in Montreal last week on a private jet. The billionaire businessman is the relative of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's former dictator now believed to be in Saudi Arabia, and who is the subject of an international arrest warrant.

Mouldi Sakri, Tunisia's ambassador to Canada, said he has asked Canadian authorities to freeze the assets of the members of the Ben Ali family and their allies.

Trabelsi has applied for political asylum in Canada, and is believed to be camping out with his family at a hotel in Vaudreuil, west of Montreal.

Sakri said Tunisia has also asked Canada to issue an arrest warrant against Trebalsi, to help Tunisian authorities bring him to justice.

"We are turning the page in Tunisia," Sakri said in a French interview with Radio-Canada. "This is a rebirth."

To be granted asylum, Trabelsi would have to prove he needs to stay in the country in order to avoid persecution in Tunisia.

Trabelsi had permanent residency status in Canada after obtaining it in the mid-1990s.

Under Canadian law, permanent residency can be lost if it is not used; for example if a person is not in the country for a certain period of time.

Trabelsi's presence in Montreal has outraged Tunisian-Canadians because he is accused of stealing large amounts of money from their home country.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting