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Algeria: ex-Prime Minister faces prison but ‘does not regret his decisions’

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia in Paris, France, on 10 November 2018 [Ian Langsdon/AFP/Getty Images]
Former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia in Paris, France, on 10 November 2018 [Ian Langsdon/AFP/Getty Images]

Former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has said that he does not regret the decisions that he made when in office, and that he would do the same again if necessary. At all times, he insisted, he respected the law when making his decisions.

Ouyahia made his comment during the trial of businessman Mohieddine Tahkout, on corruption charges linked to obtaining concessions, privileges and deals in a manner contrary to the law. Although Tahkout is linked to the former prime minister in the public imagination, Ouyahia has denied any relations with him. Nevertheless, he is a defendant in the case. During the trial, he revealed that he had cancer following his resignation from the government on 11 March last year.

The prosecutor in Sidi M’Hamed Court demanded on Wednesday that harsh sentences be imposed on Tahkout, members of his family and Ouyahia, as well as several other former officials. A 16-year prison sentence is being sought for Tahkout along with the confiscation of his property, and 15 years for Ouyahia. A 10-year sentence is sought for former ministers Youcef Yousfi, Abdelghani Zaalane and Amar Ghoul.

Tahkout is a supporter of the former President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and has been held in custody since June last year, along with a number of his family members who also face stiff sentences. The Prosecutor has requested a 12-year prison sentence and 8 million dinars fine for Rashid Tahkout, plus the confiscation of all his properties; 10 years imprisonment and 8 million dinars fine and property confiscation for Bilal Tahkout; 8 years imprisonment and a fine of 5 million dinars for Hamid Tahkout; and 3 years imprisonment for Nasser Tahkout.

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