January 27, 2011 / 10:22 PM / 7 years ago

Canada revokes residency of Ben Ali relative: report

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada has revoked the residency status of the brother-in-law of former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, according to a broadcast report on Thursday.

Federal officials took the action against Belhassen Trabelsi, a wealthy businessman who flew to Montreal with his family after Ben Ali was ousted from power, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office refused to comment on the CBC report, citing privacy law restrictions.

Residency status grants non-Canadians the right to live in the country without having citizenship, although it also restricts how much time they can spend outside the country without losing that status.

It is not known how long Trabelsi had residency status, which requires a sometimes lengthy application process.

Ben Ali was forced from power this month by a wave of protests against poverty, repression and corruption during his 23 years in power. The former president fled to Saudi Arabia with his wife Leila Trabelsi.

Tunisia has issued an arrest warrant for Ben Ali and several of his relatives, who amassed vast riches during his two decades in power and controlled many of the country’s biggest companies.

Belhassen Trabelsi owned a stake in Ciments de Carthage, a cement manufacturer; Cactus, a television production house; and the five-star Karthago Le Palace hotel, which overlooks the Mediterranean near Tunis.

Reporting by Allan Dowd; Editing by Frank McGurty

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