Algerian ex-president’s brother, former spy bosses cleared

ALGIERS, ALGERIA (AP) — A military appeals court in Algeria on Saturday cleared the brother of the country’s longtime former leader, two ex-intelligence chiefs and the leader of a leftist political party who had all been accused of plotting against the state.

Among the four defendants was Said Bouteflika, the brother and once-powerful special counsellor of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign from office in April 2019 amid growing peaceful street protests.

The others were former intelligence figures General Athmane Tartag and General Mohamed Mediene, who was known as Toufik — a name that once made Algerians tremble — and the leader of a leftist political party, Louisa Hanoune, for decades a fixture on Algeria’s political scene.

Khaled Berghel, the lawyer for Said Bouteflika, told The Associated Press (AP) news agency that the Blida military appeal court decided to clear the four defendants. Djelloul Djoudi, a former lawmaker of Hanoune’s party, confirmed the acquittal decision to the AP.

Saturday’s ruling came after the Supreme Court decided in November to quash the previous verdict and retry the case.

Said Bouteflika takes ballots before voting in Algiers. PHOTO: AP