Brother of Algeria’s ex-President Bouteflika placed in custody by military judge

Said Bouteflika (C) was considered Algeria's de facto leader for several years after his brother suffered a stroke. (File/AFP)
Updated 05 May 2019

Brother of Algeria’s ex-President Bouteflika placed in custody by military judge

  • Said Bouteflika and the two generals, Athmane Tartag and Mohamed Mediene, were arrested on Saturday
  • The three are under investigation over ‘harming the army’s authority and plotting against state authority’

ALGIERS: An Algerian military judge has placed the youngest brother of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and two former intelligence chiefs in custody, state TV reported, joining a string of businessmen and officials under investigation over corruption ahead of a presidential election.
Said Bouteflika and the two generals, Athmane Tartag and Mohamed Mediene, were arrested on Saturday, state TV said on Sunday.
The three are under investigation over “harming the army’s authority and plotting against state authority,” it said, quoting a statement from the prosecutor at the military court of Blida, south of Algiers.
It did not elaborate on the allegations but the news that the three have been detained may go some way to satisfying protesters in Algeria who have demanded a broad overhaul of the political system since President Bouteflika stepped down last month.
TV footage showed the defendants entering the court near a military base, 40 km from Algiers.
Said Bouteflika, who served as a top adviser to the presidency, acted as Algeria’s de facto ruler after his brother suffered a stroke in 2013 that left him in a wheelchair.
Mediene had been intelligence chief for 25 years until his dismissal by Bouteflika in 2015.

Massive protests calling for a radical change to Bouteflika’s government pushed the ailing president to resign on April 2. Demonstrators continue to demand the removal of all those linked the former administration.
Army chief of staff Ahmed Gaed Salah has promised to rid the country of corrupt politicians, oligarchs and military officials to restore confidence among the people.
Last month he accused Mediene of trying to undermine the transition that is due to end with the presidential election on July 4.
Several businessmen, including the country’s richest man, Issad Rebrab, have been placed in custody pending completion of investigations of corruption allegations.
Finance Minister Mohamed Loukal and former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyhia also appeared in an Algiers court last week on charges related to “dissipation of public funds.”
Protesters are also seeking the resignation of Prime Minister Nouredine Bedoui and interim president Abdelkader Bensalah, who replaced Bouteflika for 90 days to oversee the election,
Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, is considered by Algerians as part of the ruling elite that has run the country since independence from France in 1962.


Lebanon struggles to restore normality amid protests

Anti-government protesters shout slogans against the Lebanese government in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (AP)
Updated 10 min 47 sec ago

Lebanon struggles to restore normality amid protests

  • The ISG urged Lebanese authorities to address people’s complaints, demanding “structural reforms and responsible and acceptable social changes that truly curb corruption and waste, away from sectarianism

BEIRUT: Lebanese banks will remain closed in light of nationwide protests for the fifth consecutive day, the Association of Banks in Lebanon announced.
However, Banque du Liban, the country’s central bank, on Tuesday provided banks with money from their deposits in order to meet citizens’ needs.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Akram Chehayeb ordered all schools and universities to resume classes on Wednesday “in order to preserve the interests of students and to preserve the academic year.”
Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon, which includes envoys from the US, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the EU, China and the Arab League, as well as the UN special coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis.
The ISG urged Lebanese authorities to address people’s complaints, demanding “structural reforms and responsible and acceptable social changes that truly curb corruption and waste, away from sectarianism.”
Such changes, it said, should “ensure proper governance and full accountability, and lead to sustainable and stable growth.”

FASTFACT

International Support Group urges govt to implement ‘structural reforms.’

Kubis said Hariri “committed that the government and its legitimate security forces will continue to protect civilians who are demonstrating peacefully, and will take appropriate measures against any possible violent incitement, to protect public and private property and institutions, and the people’s right to peacefully express their views.”
On behalf of the ISG, Kubis urged “officials and political actors in Lebanon to listen to the legitimate demands of the people, work with them on solutions, apply them, and refrain from any statements and acts that could inflame tensions and incite confrontation and violence.”
After meeting Hariri, Kuwait’s ambassador to Lebanon, Abdel Aal Al-Kinai, said: “Now is not the time to speak but to act.”