An individual of Liberian nationality and Lebanese origin who was living illegally in Algeria has been sentenced to death by the criminal court of Ghardaia, reports ObservAlgerie.
Six other African nationals were sentenced to 10 years in prison and given fines of up to 20 million Algerian dinars after being arrested in Ghardaia, 600 kilometres south of Algiers, as part of the operation to dismantle the spy cell.
Their arrests come amidst chaotic protests in the valley of the Mzabs over decades of economic marginalisation and the President Bouteflika’s attempts to stay on for a fifth term.
The defendants were charged with espionage, organisation of a criminal gang that undermined national security, printing, possession and dissemination of subversive documents that glorified terrorism.
The defendants pleaded not guilty and claimed the only reason they had crossed the Algerian border was in an attempt to reach Europe.
The case dates back to January 2016, when security services in Gherdaia announced they had dismantled an Israeli spy cell.