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Algerian judiciary demands to hear Bouteflika's brother, the latter refuses to answer

Said Bouteflika, brother of the ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Said Bouteflika, brother of the ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika

The Algerian judiciary demanded to hear Said Bouteflika, brother of the ousted Algerian president, on the third day of the trial Bouteflika refused to answer the questions addressed to him.

Said Bouteflika refused to answer the judge and prosecutor’s questions regarding the charges on illegal financing of the recent election campaign of his brother President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned on 2 April under street pressure, according to Sky News.

Subsequently, the judge requested taking Said Bouteflika back to Blida Military Prison, where he is serving a 15-year prison sentence for “conspiracy against state authority”. Bouteflika had previously refused to appear during his trial at the end of September.

The Attorney General submitted a request to bring Bouteflika’s brother before the court following the trial of Ali Haddad, former head of the central Algerian employer organisation, the Forum of Business Leaders (FCE), on the file of financing the former president’s elections.

READ: Algeria presidential candidates to participate in first televised debate

Former Prime Ministers, Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, and several former ministers, in addition to executive directors in the Ministry of Industry and business people in the automotive sector, were among the defendants in this unprecedented trial, which started on Wednesday.

Haddad was directly charged, on Thursday, by one of the defendants in the case of financing Bouteflika’s presidential campaign, which was scheduled for 18 April 2019.

The defendant told the judge that Haddad interfered with the election campaign at the request of Said Bouteflika, who called him “asking for help on 6 February 2019”.

“Said Bouteflika asked me to recover between 700 and 800 million Algerian dinars (about 5.7 million Euros), which were at the campaign headquarters in Hydra,” in Algiers, he added.

However, Haddad, founder of the first private construction company in Algeria, did not say where the money went.

According to the testimony of Al-Hajj Said, director of Haddad’s office, the money that was paid by well-known businessmen working in the automotive sector to finance Bouteflika’s campaign “was used by Said.”

The trial is taking place in the absence of several defence attorneys, who decided to boycott and denounce the “farce trial”, describing it as an attempt “to get even” with particular parties according to Agence France-Presse.

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