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Algeria: ex-security chief sent to prison for attempted election fraud

June 5, 2023 at 8:42 am

Algerian flags flutter in front of the People’s National Assembly (parliament) building in the capital Algiers [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/Getty Images]

A court in Algeria has confirmed the sentence of a former director of Internal Security to 16 years in prison, Al-Quds Al-Arabi has reported. Wassini Bouazza was charged with attempting to fix the result of the 2019 presidential election in favour of the then Minister of Culture, Azzedine Mihoubi.

According to the Francophone newspaper Al-Watan, Bouazza was on trial alongside five officers under his command. The trial concluded on Thursday evening with the confirmation of his conviction. Some of the other defendants had their sentences reduced by the military appeals court. The Supreme Court overturned the previous rulings against Bouazza by the appeal court in Blida in September 2021.

Former brigadier general Bouazza was stripped of his rank after facing charges including abuse of authority, violation of military orders and obstruction of justice, as well as “interference” in the presidential election, which was won by current President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Bouazza awaits two further cases against him, one of which involves a non-commissioned officer, Kermit Benouira, the private secretary of the late Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah, who is accused of disclosing military secrets.

Al-Watan quoted the defendants during the trial as saying that they merely followed the orders of their immediate superior. According to some lawyers, though, Bouazza claimed that it was Salah who ordered him to support Mihoubi in the election.

Bouazza was dismissed as head of Internal Security in Algeria in April 2020, months after Tebboune took office. He was replaced by Brigadier General Abdelghani Rachdi.

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