Algeria: new sentences of ex-caciques of the Bouteflika era, including two former prime ministers

Already imprisoned, Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal were sentenced to new prison terms for acts of corruption.

Two former prime ministers of the late ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, already imprisoned, were sentenced, Monday, September 27, to new prison terms for acts of corruption. Prosecuted with other co-defendants, in particular for “money laundering”, “squandering” funds, “abuse of office” and “conclusion of contracts in violation of public procurement regulations”, Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal were respectively sentenced to six and five years in prison, reports the official APS agency. They were on trial in the so-called case Hamid Melzi, ex-boss of a public establishment managing a luxurious residence reserved for dignitaries of power and of a public hotel company which was sentenced to five years in prison. Hamid Melzi is indicted in another case of“economic espionage” and “damage to the national economy”. Her four children were also sentenced to prison and heavy fines.

Already condemned

Ahmed Ouyahia was Prime Minister four times between 1995 and 2019 and Abdelmalek Sellal led the government from 2014 to 2017 as well as the four electoral campaigns of Bouteflika, ousted from power in 2019 and died on September 17, 2021. The two former prime ministers have already been convicted in several trials for acts of corruption and must appear in others. Their heaviest sentence was confirmed on appeal last January: 15 years in prison for Ahmed Ouyahia and 12 years in prison for Abdelmalek Sellal. After the fall of Bouteflika under the pressure of the demonstrations of the Hirak and the army, the justice launched a series of inquiries into the affairs of the men of the seraglio of the former head of state. Several former senior politicians as well as powerful businessmen have been convicted, in particular for acts of corruption.

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Algeria is in 104th place out of 180 countries in the world ranking of the corruption perception index published in January by the NGO Transparency International.

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