The trial for corruption of two former Algerian prime ministers, as well as other former senior political leaders and bosses of the automotive sector, opened Wednesday in Algiers, in the absence of lawyers who decided to boycott him, said an AFP journalist.
Highly anticipated, this trial in the court of Sidi M’hamed, in the center of Algiers, had been postponed Monday, since its opening, and the defense had announced that it would boycott its recovery, denouncing a justice « politicized » and a climate of « settlement of accounts ».
« The conditions in this place do not allow the lawyers to accomplish their missions and therefore I inform you that the defense has decided to boycott the trial, » said Wednesday Mohamed Madjdoub to the judge, on behalf of all defense lawyers .
The judge asked them to leave the small courtroom – crowded – and decided to continue the trial.
The trial is the first in a series of large-scale investigations into suspected corruption after Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation in April, initially prompted by a popular « Hirak » protest against the regime after 20 years. at the head of the state.
In the box of the accused, were on Wednesday morning two close and former prime ministers of Mr. Bouteflika: Ahmed Ouyahia, four times head of government between 1995 and 2019, including three times during the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and Abdelmalek Sellal who led the government from 2014 to 2017.
This is the first time since Algeria’s independence in 1962 that former heads of government have been tried.
Also included was Ali Haddad, former head of the main Algerian employers’ organization, the Forum of Business Leaders (FCE), and founder and CEO of ETRHB, the No. 1 private construction company in Algeria.
Among the other businessmen present were former CTF Vice President Mohamed Bairi, CEO of the Ival Group, which owns the Algerian industrial vehicle assembly plant Iveco, and Ahmed Mazouz, president of the eponymous group that assembles and distributes in Algeria vehicles of Chinese brands.
The defendants are being prosecuted for « misappropriation of public funds, abuse of office and granting of undue benefits » in cases relating to the vehicle assembly industry.