Minister of Justice Noureddine Bhiri announced today during “The International Symposium to Retrieve Money Smuggled Abroad” that Sakher El Materi, son-in-law of Tunisia’s toppled president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, has been detained in the island country of Seychelles where he sought refuge following his expulsion from Qatar.
Initial reports today indicated that El Materi was arrested in Seychelles, yet the press office of the Ministry of Justice denied this claim.
“El Materi was detained in the airport of Seychelles because he was using an expired diplomatic passport and an international arrest warrant for him had been issued. Now he is under investigation, but not in jail,” said Adel Riahi, press officer at the Ministry of Justice.
The Tunisian government is coordinating with Seychelles authorities to arrest El Materi, Fadhel Saihi, adviser to the minister of justice, told Tunisian radio Mosaique FM.
The international symposium began its planned workshop this morning at the Hotel Africa in downtown Tunis and will continue until tomorrow. The conference is being held to review the progress in the recovery of assets that were smuggled out of Tunisia by members of the former regime, such as El Materi.