ALGIERS, 3 January 2021 – The younger brother of Algeria’s former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been cleared of charges of conspiracy.
Said Bouteflika was serving a 15-year prison sentence for reportedly planning to declare a state of emergency and firing the army chief.
The accusations were made as street protests mounted during the last days of his elder brother’s rule of the North African country.
The younger Bouteflika was widely seen as the real person ruling the country, especially after his elder brother suffered a delibitating stroke in 2013 but refused to step down from power.
Under pressure from mass street protests, Abdelaziz Bouteflika finally stepped down in 2019, ending over 20 years of rule.
The mass street movement which ousted his elder brother continues to this day to demand democratic reforms.
The movement called for a boycott of Algeria’s constitutional referendum with its main supporters decrying the draft as not going far enough.
The adopted referendum – passed with less than 30 percent of the electorate – was signed into law on New Year 2021 by Algerian President Tebbourne.
Said Bouteflika has denied any wrongdoing with regard to using or planning to use any of the presidential powers that only his elder brother had the constitutional right to wield.
He is still facing corruption charges.
Said Bouteflika was detained in May 2019 along with two former intelligence chiefs suspected of working with him as accomplices and a fourth official.
They were sentenced for “plotting” against the army and the state.
Last November, the Supreme Court decided to retry the case along with the three co-accused, the most well-known being Gen. Mohamed Mediene, known as “Gen. Toufik”, and Gen. Athmane Tartag.
The accused have now all been acquitted by the highest court in Algeria.
There is, for the time being, no happy ending in this tory for Said Bouteflika.
The judiciary in Algiers say he is not going home from jail, yet.
According to official sources, he will be transferred to another prison and held in pre-trial detention until he faces corruption charges that are pending against him.