Algeria court jails brother of deposed President Bouteflika

Said Bouteflika sentenced to two years in prison for ‘obstructing the course of justice’, local media reports.

Said Bouteflika was previously acquitted by a military appeal court of charges of 'plotting against the state and the army' [File: Farouk Batiche/AFP]

The powerful younger brother of deposed late Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been sentenced to two years in prison for “obstructing the course of justice”, the official APS news agency has reported.

President Bouteflika was forced to resign in the face of mass protests in 2019 against his bid for a fifth term in office and died in September of this year, aged 84.

His departure was followed by a string of prosecutions against senior members of his inner circle, most prominently his brother Said who had been seen as the real power behind the throne after the longtime ruler suffered a stroke in 2013.

The prosecution called for seven years’ jail for Said, who was charged, along with other former officials, for “abuse of office”, “inciting the falsification of official documents”, “obstruction of justice” and “contempt of court”.

The main accused at the trial in Dar El Beida, east of Algiers, was former justice minister Tayeb Louh.

He was handed six years in prison while tycoon Ali Haddad was sentenced to two years, APS reported on Tuesday. Both were close to the former president.

Ex-inspector general of the ministry of justice Tayeb Belhachemi was also sentenced to two years in prison.

The court acquitted six other defendants.

Said Bouteflika, 63, was arrested in May 2019 and sentenced to 15 years for “plotting against the state and the army” during the final days of his brother’s rule.

On January 2, he was acquitted of those charges by a military appeals court but was handed to a civil court to face trial on corruption charges.

Dozens of other figures close to Bouteflika, including prominent business leaders and less powerful officials, remain in prison.

Source: AFP