Muslim radicals jailed for life

TUNIS (AP) - A military court yesterday sentenced 35 members of the banned Muslim group Annahda to life imprisonment for attempting to assassinate the President, Zine el- Abidine Ben Ali, and overthrow the government.

Sixteen of the the 35 were sentenced in absentia, including the founder and leader of Annahda, Rached Ghannouchi, now exiled in London.

They were among 171 members or supporters of Annahda on trial, with another 108 members who are being tried in another Tunis court.

Opposition leaders claim Ben Ali is using the threat of Muslim fundamentalism as an excuse for delaying the democratic reforms he has promised.