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Algeria: lawyer's assassination shakes the country

Algerian lawyers stage a protest march against the candidacy of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fifth term in Algiers, Algeria on 7 March 2019 [Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency]
Algerian lawyers protest in Algiers, Algeria. [Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency]

The dismembered body of a missing lawyer has been found in eastern Algeria, Al-Quds Al-Arabi has reported. The remains of Jamal El-Din Chaoui were discovered by an Algerian Civil Defence team.

Chaoui is a former mayor who disappeared in mysterious circumstances about ten days ago. It is feared that he was killed by a local mafia about which the victim had complained on social media.

When the victim's burnt-out car was found in a neighbouring province along with some of his belongings, his family made public appeals for his safe return. According to his mother, he was the family's sole breadwinner. He apparently went out after dinner one evening and did not come home, she said.

Legal colleagues have expressed their regret at not taking his concerns about possible assassination seriously. They have called for a thorough investigation into his murder.

Chaoui had written on social media about a "delay in the procedures of the case relating to the attempt to assassinate me last year… although the identity of the perpetrator is known and there are witnesses available. Who is behind all this?"

In response to the murder, there have been calls for lawyers and local municipality officials to be protected by the Algerian authorities. Both are likely to be in the front line of contacts with local mafia and criminal networks.

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