Algeria: the brother of ex-president Bouteflika acquitted on appeal after a heavy sentence for “conspiracy”

Saïd Bouteflika holds a first revenge. A military court of appeal in Algeria acquitted, Saturday, January 2, the younger brother and ex-adviser of deposed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for “conspiracy against the authority of the state and the army”.

Following this surprise decision, Saïd Bouteflika will be transferred to a civilian prison pending trial in other cases related to corruption during his brother’s 20 years in power, according to a judicial source. He had previously been detained in a military jail.

Arrested in May 2019 with three co-accused, he was accused of having met with them in March 2019 to develop a “destabilization plan” the high command of the army, which then publicly demanded the departure of President Bouteflika to get out of the crisis born of the Hirak. This unprecedented popular uprising forced the head of state to give up a new presidential mandate and to resign, under the combined pressure of the street and the army, in April 2019.

The 15-year prison sentences of Saïd Bouteflika, “Toufik”, the former all-powerful head of the sprawling Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS), and his ex-right-hand man Athmane Tartag, who had succeeded him, had been confirmed on appeal in February 2020. Louisa Hanoune, general secretary of the Workers’ Party (PT, Trotskyist), had seen her sentence reduced from fifteen to three years, nine of which was firm. She was released on February 10, 2020 after serving her sentence.

Saïd Bouteflika was the influential special adviser to his brother Abdelaziz. His power had strengthened to the point of being considered as the “president-bis”, as the health of the Head of State declined, victim in 2013 of a stroke which left him paralyzed and aphasic.

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