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Kuwait denies visit of ousted Tunisia leader Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali's wife

‘Leila did not set foot in Kuwait for more than two years’

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait has denied reports that the wife of Tunisia’s former president had entered the country for a short visit.

“Kuwaiti authorities have been contacted by Tunisia and international agencies to verify the claims that Leila Trabelsi, the wife of Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali visited Kuwait,” sources told Kuwaiti daily Al Jareeda.

“Following an intense investigation, the authorities said that Leila did not set foot in Kuwait for more than two years and that she did not have any property or business or cars in the country,” the sources believed to be close to the public prosecution office said in the report published on Saturday.

Bin Ali and Leila have been living in Saudi Arabia since January 2011 where they were granted asylum after leaving Tunisia following a popular uprising that sparked similar waves in several other Arab countries.

Neither is allowed to engage in any political activity and both kept a low profile even though Leila published a book to give her version of what happened, particularly after she was accused of running mafia-like lucrative operations in Tunisia and abroad for her own sake and that of her extended family.

Recent reports claimed that Leila had opened a shop in Kuwait and that she travelled to the northern Arabian Gulf country to monitor her business.

In the Tunisian capital Tunis, the authorities on Friday announced the death of Munsif Trabelsi, Leila’s brother, on Thursday evening more than two years after he was arrested.

The 68-year-old detainee who died at the neurological hospital in Tunis was believed to be in frail condition after undergoing surgery last month. He reportedly had a brain tumour.

The brother-in- law of the ousted president was taken to the hospital from his jail on March 18.

However, his family lawyer told Tunisian media that he would file a case on Monday for negligence that resulted in his death.

Munsif was arrested on January 14, 2011 as he attempted to leave the country with members of his family on an airplane for France.