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Algeria: Military court issues arrest warrants against former gendarmerie commander

Algerian police prepare to face off against university students gathered to protest against the fifth term of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers, Algeria, on 26 February 2019 [Farouk Batiche / Anadolu Agency]
Algerian police in Algiers, Algeria, on 26 February 2019 [Farouk Batiche / Anadolu Agency]

Algeria's military court has issued four international arrest warrants against the former national gendarmerie commander, Brigadier General Ghali Belkecir, in light of his involvement in three corruption cases, while facing high treason accusations in the fourth case.

EChorouk Online quoted exclusive sources stating that several officers with different military ranks are also involved in the cases that have been referred to the military court.

The sources added that the examining magistrate of the Blida Military Court concluded that Belkecir is a major culprit in the four cases, after interrogating officers and security elements arrested in various corruption cases.

The military court issued international arrest warrants against Belkecir on 11 August on charges of high treason.

The Algerian Ministry of Defence confirmed in a statement that retired First Assistant Guermit Bounouira, Major Darwish Hicham and retired Brigadier General Belkecir are facing charges of high treason. They are also facing charges related to the acquisition of confidential information and documents with the aim of handing them over to a foreign state agent.

French intelligence website Maghreb Intelligence confirmed that Belkecir, who left the country with his wife (a judge) and children to Spain, was negotiating with Western intelligence services, specifically Spanish and French intelligence, to grant him and his family political asylum.

READ: Algeria issues arrest warrants for ex-politician, ex-intelligence officer

On 30 July, 2020, the Turkish authorities handed Bounouira over to Algeria after he had fled the country to escape charges of exploiting his position to gain wealth and funds, and unlawfully owning real estate inside and outside of Algeria. Bounouira, who took charge of late General Ahmed Gaid Salah's office, was described as the latter's closest confidante.

Media reports confirmed at the time that Bounouira was facing significant charges related to leaking confidential documents and information from the headquarters of the Algerian Ministry of Defence.

France officially approved the judicial agreement signed with Algeria in 2009 regarding the extradition of wanted persons.

On 27 January, 2019, Algeria signed a new cooperation agreement with France related to the extradition of wanted persons between the two countries.

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