Tunisia's Ousted Ben Ali in Coma

Exiled strongman in grave condition after suffering stroke, sources say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2011 5:43 AM CST
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Has Stroke, Tunisia's Ousted Strongman Reportedly in Coma
A torn banner of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali hangs in the center of Tunis.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Warning: Losing power may be bad for your health. Exiled Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has been hospitalized in Saudi Arabia after suffering a stroke on Tuesday and, according to some sources, is in a coma, the Guardian reports. The 74-year-old was forced to flee Tunisia last month after a popular uprising demanded an end to his 23-year rule, inspiring demonstrations across the Arab world.

There was little sympathy for the ousted leader on the streets of the Tunisian capital after the news of his condition broke, al-Jazeera notes. "If he dies, we're losing a dictator and I say 'Good riddance'," said a 50-year-old teacher. "We're turning a page, we've other things to do in this country." The head of the newly established national commission for political reform said Ben Ali's hospitalization "is proof there is justice on earth." (More Zine El Abidine Ben Ali stories.)

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