Former Tunisian president's relatives in Canada with resident cards

17:09, January 24, 2011      

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Several relatives of Tunisia's former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali have arrived in Canada by private jet, local media reported on Sunday.

At least five family members, including Ben Ali's brother-in-law, arrived in Montreal, the second largest city, on Thursday morning, and most were carrying permanent resident cards, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) said.

The Canadian government, fearing that more are trying to come to this country, is monitoring airlines to try to prevent that, CBC quoted government sources as saying.

The family members could be residing at a home owned by Ben Ali's son-in-law, Mohamed Sakher El Materi, in Montreal's upscale Westmount neighbourhood.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said in an email to CBC that individuals are allowed in the country as long they have the proper papers and are not wanted by a foreign government.

On Jan. 14, Ben Ali, who ruled Tunisia for more than 23 years, stepped down as president following weeks of riots in the North African country and immediately left for Saudi Arabia.

Source: Xinhua

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