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Algeria Judiciary: 20 years imprisonment, in absentia, against former Energy Minister Chakib Khelil

January 20, 2023 at 1:37 pm

Chakib Khelil, former Algerian oil minister and OPEC President on November 13, 2012 [Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

On Thursday, Former Algerian Energy Minister, Chakib Khelil, who held office for ten years under the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was again sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, in absentia, on corruption charges, according to Algeria Press Service (APS).

The “Sidi M’Hamed” Court in Algiers also issued judgements of five to ten years imprisonment against other former senior officials.

Among the convicted figures were the former Minister of Transport and Public Works of Algeria, Amar Ghoul, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Bedjaoui, in addition to Noureddine Boutarfa and Abdelmoumen Ould Kadour, who were two former presidents of the giant oil and gas company, Sonatrach.

They were prosecuted on charges related to corruption, especially “wasting public money by concluding deals with foreign organisations”.

READ: Algeria sentences former Energy Minister to 20 years in prison over corruption

The Court also upheld the international arrest warrant issued against Chakib Khelil.

In 2013, the Algerian Judiciary issued an international arrest warrant against Khelil as part of an investigation into his gaining commissions from a company affiliated with the Italian Eni Energy Group for granting it work contracts in Algeria, a scandal that was the subject of several trials in Italy and Algeria.

Following his asylum to the United States, Chakib Khelil returned to Algeria in 2016 after dropping the charges attributed to him, but he left the country when he was prosecuted again after Bouteflika stepped down on 2 April, 2019, as a result of the pressure by the protest movement and the army.