Algerian military court upholds jail sentences for former intelligence chiefs

ALGIERS (Reuters) – A military appeals court in Algeria on Monday confirmed 15-year jail sentences against two former intelligence chiefs and a brother of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for “conspiring against the army and the state authority,” state media reported.

Mohamed Mediene and Athmane Tartag, along with Said Bouteflika, have been in detention since May, weeks after mass protests broke out demanding the departure of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people involved in corruption.

The appeals court in Blida, south of Algiers, handed a nine-month jail sentence to Louisa Hannoune, leader of the Workers Party, who was given 15 years in prison in a first instance sentence in September, along with Mediene, Tartag and Bouteflika.

Mediene, known as “Toufik”, held the role of kingmaker for more than two decades, with power to name presidents, prime ministers, ministers and other senior officials.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika ruled for 20 years until he was ousted in April after protesters rejected his plan to seek a new five-year term in office. Said ran the government unofficially after his brother suffered a stroke in 2013.

Algeria has jailed two prime ministers, several ministers and prominent businessmen over corruption charges since the demonstrations erupted on Feb. 22.

Algerians are still staging weekly protests but their numbers have fallen significantly since the North African country elected Abdelmadjid Tebboune in a presidential vote largely rejected by the demonstrators.

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