Algeria confirms long jail terms for ex-prime ministers | News | DW | 28.01.2021
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Algeria confirms long jail terms for ex-prime ministers

Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, who served under ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, had originally been convicted of corruption in 2019.

Algerians hold up signs depicting former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia (R) dressed as a Zouave

The former PMs were convicted after a scandal concerning the covert financing of an aborted 2019 re-election bid by ex-President Bouteflika

A court in the Algerian capital on Thursday upheld hefty prison sentences for two former prime ministers who served under ex-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the AFP news agency reported on Thursday.

AFP cited judicial sources who said judges confirmed sentences of 15 years for Ahmed Ouyahia and 12 years for Abdelmalek Sellal.

The jail terms had originally been handed down in December 2019. 

Why were the former prime ministers jailed?

The pair were convicted in a corruption trial centring on the country's auto sector and the covert financing of an aborted 2019 re-electionbid by Bouteflika. The former leader resigned in April that year amid mass protests.

A lower court found the two guilty on charges including "misappropriation of public funds, abuse of power and granting undue privileges" in December 2019. 

"The campaign scandal cost the treasury an estimated 110 billion dinars (over $890 million, €820 million)," according to the prosecutor. The auto industry controversy also caused the loss of some $950 million in public funds. 

They were the first prime ministers to face trial since Algeria won independence from France in 1962.

jf/rt (AFP, Reuters)