Tunisia's Ben Ali: The Dictator's Last Calls

In exclusive, never heard before recordings believed to be of former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, BBC News Arabic reveals the anxious telephone calls that helped seal the fate of his 23-year dictatorship and spark a wave of revolutions across the Middle East.

The recordings, which are strongly disputed by some, appear to show that, as protests rocked his feared police state, the president's closest aides urged him to stay away from the country.

'The Dictator's Last Calls' uses animation to recreate the last hours of President Ben Ali's rule as he made a dramatic flight to Saudi Arabia to take his family to safety while demonstrators overran the streets.

There has been speculation over the events that led President Ben Ali to flee Tunisia and these calls shed light on how his rule finally ended.

The BBC has had the recordings forensically analysed by audio experts who found no evidence of tampering or manipulation.

We have also played these recordings to people who know the individuals concerned. They believe the voices to be genuine, further supporting the authenticity of the recordings.

Read more: Secret audio sheds light on dictator's frantic last hours

Produced and Directed by Emir Nader; Animation by Jasmine Bonshor and Ismail Moneer; Executive Producer, Mustafa Khalili; Edited by Bettina Waked and Carole Bertinet; Digital Impact Producer, Janay Boulos

BBC News