EU prolongs sanctions against 48 Tunisians, inc. ex-leader

The European Union has prolonged for a year sanctions against dozens of Tunisians, including ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, accused of illegally using state funds.

EU member states agreed Friday to extend the asset freezes on 48 people until Jan. 31, 2018.

They believe "the misappropriation of state funds is depriving the Tunisian people of the benefits of the sustainable development of their economy and society," and undermines the spread of democracy.

The measures target Ben Ali — whose removal inspired the Arab Spring — his wife and 46 others accused of money laundering. They have been in place since 2011.