Tunisia’s judiciary ruled to cancel a presidential decree issued in 2011 to confiscate the property of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his relatives.
Tunisian Minister of State Property Hatem al-Ashi, said the current government would appeal the decision, which he described as "serious and shocking."
"It's a shocking decision and we hope the court will take the right decision when it comes to the appeal," he said.
The court ruled the decree was invalid because it was not formally endorsed, neither by the National Constituent Assembly elected in October 2011 nor the parliament elected at the end of last year.
After the overthrow of Ben Ali, Interim President Fouad Mebazaa issued a decree in March 2011, in which the state confiscated the property of 114 people, including Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi and their relatives, as well as a number of senior aids to the deposed president.
Ashi said in a radio interview that the cancellation of the decree means that 114 people from the family of Ben Ali, including Ben Ali himself, can now return to claim their property, in addition to financial compensations.
According to the Administrative Court, the decree on the confiscation was not legally sound because it had not been ratified by the National Constituent Assembly (the interim parliament).
On September 24 2012 the Ministry of State Property announced that authorities confiscated $13 billion of real estate companies and financial assets belonging to Ben Ali and his family.