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Mon, 20 Jan 2020 21:50 GMT

Algeria Prosecutor Requests 20 Year Sentence Against Ex-premiers


7Dnews London

Sun, 08 Dec 2019 19:44 GMT

The Algerian prosecutor's office on Sunday December 8th pushed for a 20-year prison sentence for former politicians prosecuted in affairs of corruption and abuse of office, AFP reported, citing local media.

Two former premiers, Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, and other prominent politicians and automotive industry tycoons, face charges ranging from money laundering to abuse of office.

It is the first time since Algeria's independence from France in 1962 that ex-prime ministers have been put on trial. Both Ouyahia and Sellal have denied the accusations.

A similar sentence is requested for former industry minister Abdeslam Bouchouareb, who is being tried in absentia as he has fled abroad.

This follows sweeping investigations into corruption allegations that were launched after Bouteflika resigned in April after mass protests which erupted in February.

Lawyers said the trial opened on Wednesday, and a verdict is expected late Sunday or early Monday.

Former industry ministers Mahdjoub Bedda and Youcef Yousfi are each facing 15 years in prison, while other defendants are facing eight-year prison, according to the Algerian media reports.

The suspects also include automotive industry businessmen Ahmed Mazouz and Hassane Arbaoui, as well as former public works and transport minister Abdelghani Zaalane.

Defence lawyers have boycotted the trial, saying the proceedings are "politicised".

Middle East