A former military official, and confidant of the powerful former chief of staff of the Algerian army, was sentenced to capital punishment for in particular “disclosure of confidential information“, reported Sunday the French-language daily El Watan.
Chief Warrant Officer Guermit Bounouira, who appeared Thursday before the Blida Court of Appeal (50 km south of Algiers), was prosecuted for “disclosure of confidential information, affecting the interests of the army and the state, collection and transmission of information to parties or third countries“, according to this newspaper.
The death penalty has not been applied since 1993
He was also accused ofviolation of the obligation of secrecy with the aim of undermining the security and the interests of the State“, according to the same source. Former private secretary to the Chief of Staff and Deputy Minister of Defense, Ahmed Gaïd Salah who died of a heart attack in December 2019, Guermit Bounouira was handed over to the Algerian authorities on July 30, 2020 by Turkey, the country where he had fled.
According to El Watan, the Algerian justice accuses him of having “took possession of numerous classified documents on the movements in the ranks of the army and the internal functioning of the latter, to use them as bargaining chips for protected status“.
Capital punishment, which continues to be pronounced by Algerian courts, has not been applied in Algeria since 1993, under a moratorium. In the same case, the military court also sentenced the former head of the gendarmerie Ghali Belksir, currently on the run, to life imprisonment.
It also imposed the same sentence, in absentia, on Larbi Zitout, one of the leaders of the Islamist movement Rachad, based abroad and classified as a terrorist organization since May 2021 by the Algerian authorities. At first instance, the defendants had received the same sentences last January.
Many Algerian officers are being prosecuted or have recently been sentenced by military justice for corruption. These senior army officers were active under the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, forced to resign in April 2019 by the Hirak, the pro-democracy protest movement. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who led Algeria for 20 years, died in September 2021.
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