Algeria Court Acquits Ex-President Bouteflika’s Brother

An Algerian military court has acquitted brother of ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika from charges of “conspiring against the state and army authorities.”

Also acquitted from the same charges are two former intelligence chiefs and a political party leader.

The lawyer of the defendants said the Military Court of Blida pronounced acquittal judgment for the four people who were arrested in May 2019.

They were accused of holding secret meetings to conspire against the military and state authorities.

Said Bouteflika – widely seen as the real power-holder in Algeria – was arrested after his brother was ousted by pro-democracy protests in 2019.

He had been accused of planning to declare a state of emergency and firing the army chief as protests mounted.

He still faces corruption charges.

For almost 20 years Abdelaziz Bouteflika ruled the authoritarian country where the military wields significant power. But after the president suffered a stroke in 2013, his brother was considered to be the real ruler behind the scenes.

Then, in 2019 a popular protest movement swept the ailing president from power as Algerians demanded greater freedom.

Said Bouteflika was detained in May 2019 alongside two former intelligence chiefs during a wave of arrests that targeted the ex-president’s close allies.

The military court had earlier in September 2019 sentenced them to 15 years in prison each.

But in November 2020 the Supreme Court said it would retry the case against Bouteflika, chief Gen Mohamed Mediene, known as “Gen Toufik”, and Gen Athmane Tartag.

All three have now been acquitted. Bouteflika will be transferred to another prison to face corruption charges.

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