Algeria: Former PM Held Over Alleged Corruption
By Staff, Agencies
Algeria's former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia was placed in custody by the country's Supreme Court as part of an anti-corruption investigation, state media reported.
Ouyahia is the most senior politician to be detained on corruption allegations since mass protests erupted more than three months ago demanding the departure of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people the demonstrators see as corrupt.
After leaving the government in March as part of a cabinet reshuffle, he is now under investigation over cases including "awarding illegal privileges", state television said on Wednesday, without further details.
He is the leader of Algeria's second largest party, the Democratic National Rally [RND].
The country’s former transport and public works minister Abdelghani Zaalane was also placed in custody by the court, state television reported.
A number of corruption investigations have been opened in the weeks since President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down on April 2, under pressure from the military and protesters.
The army is now the most powerful institution in the country and its chief Ahmed Gaid Salah has urged the judiciary to investigate all people suspected of involvement in corruption.
Several senior figures including another former prime minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, and eight former ministers appeared last month in a court in Algiers on suspicion of corruption.
Bouteflika's youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge for "harming the army's authority and plotting against state authority".
Several prominent politicians and businessmen linked to Bouteflika have been detained or questioned in connection with corruption since the president was forced to step down after two decades in power.