Ben Ali is also facing charges for possessing large number of jewellery, foreign currency, illegal drugs, weapons and archaeological artefacts. He is blamed for conspiring in the killing of civilians to stay in power.
Ben Ali had fled Tunisia on Jan 14, after there was mass protest across the country. Both Ali and his wife were living in exile in Saudi Arabia fearing consequences. The Tunisian government in Feb had asked Saudi Arabia to hand over Ben Ali which was then refused by the country.
During Ben Ali's regime, the members of his family acquired huge amounts of wealth. His security officials arrested anyone who disagreed.
Ben Ali, responding to a statement that was issued by his lawyers said that all charges framed against him were conspired and he was victimised adding he was fooled to leave the country.
"What a moment. After 23 years when he manipulated the courts, today a very fair court has returned to us a little bit of our honor," said Meriam, a student after the verdict came out.
"My brother was put in prison for nothing ... and the other one was forced to stay in Europe in exile for nine years. This (verdict) gives us some peace," she added.
Not only Ben Ali and his wife but at least 30 members of his family were arrested and some have been convicted for misusing power and committing crimes.
“His trial before an 'empty chair" has raised many questions about the point of these trials, which some have considered to be purely for show, like a farcical play," read As Sabah, a Tunisian paper.
“The deposed" as Ben Ali is called after his downfall, “will not be able to quell the fire of the Tunisian people, who had hoped 'the deposed" would be brought in and tried in an actual trial, to return faith and confidence to all Tunisians," said the paper.
A trail will take place in the end of Jun on Ben Ali's illegal possession of jewellery, foreign currency, illegal drugs, weapons and archaeological artefacts.