Former Algerian counter terrorism chief goes on trial

2015-11-26 16:10


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Oran - Algeria's former counter terrorism chief went on trial behind closed doors in a military court on Thursday in the country's first ever prosecution of a high-ranking secret service officer.

Abdelkader Ait-Ouarabi - better known as General Hassan - stands accused of "destroying documents and disobeying military instructions," his lawyer Mokrane Ait-Larbi said earlier. 

Journalists were not allowed to attend the hearing even before the judges ordered it held behind closed doors.

General Hassan had for two decades embodied the army's fight against Islamist groups.

He was forcibly retired on the orders of a military judge at the end of 2013 and placed under surveillance, then arrested in August.

Analysts interpreted his removal as President Abdelaziz Bouteflika consolidating his hold over intelligence services some considered a "parallel state" within Algeria.

In September, the president also replaced General Mohamed Mediene - better known as General Toufik - after 25 years at the head of the powerful DRS intelligence agency.

In a statement published in Algerian newspapers on Thursday, General Hassan's lawyers said that he was "a collateral victim of the ferocious clan war being waged at the highest level of politics".

Read more on:    algeria  |  north africa

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