Algeria jails two former prime ministers two days before presidential election
An Algerian court jailed two former prime ministers for corruption on Tuesday, two days before a presidential election that protesters want cancelled.
Ahmed Ouyahia, who was prime minister four times, received a 15-year jail sentence and Abdelmalek Sellal, who was twice premier, was jailed for 12 years.
The two men denied all charges, including “misappropriation of public funds, abuse of power and granting undue privileges”.
It was the first time since Algeria’s independence from France in 1962 that former prime ministers had been put on trial.
The state prosecutor had sought 20-year prison sentences for the two ex-premiers, the AFP news agency reported.
The court in Algiers also handed 10-year prison terms to two former industry ministers, and sentences ranging from three to seven years to five prominent businessmen.
Tuesday’s verdicts are linked to corruption in the car assembly business and “hidden financing” of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s campaign for a fifth five-year term in an election that was scrapped earlier this year.
The nascent Algerian automotive sector got its start in 2014, via partnerships between foreign groups and large Algerian corporations, often owned by businessmen linked to Bouteflika’s entourage.