Algeria recalls envoy to France over 'evacuation' of 'wanted' Franco-Algerian activist
Algeria is once again upset with France, this time over Paris's intervention in stopping the extradition of an anti-regime Algerian activist from Tunis to Algiers.
On Wednesday evening, Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune recalled the country's ambassador to France in protest of the "secret and illegal evacuation" of journalist Amira Bouraoui, who left Algerian soil illegally and entered Tunisia.
Over the weekend, Amira Bouraoui, a Franco-Algerian journalist was arrested in Tunisia and faced extradition, but she was allowed to board her flight to France's Lyon after the intervention of the French embassy in Tunis.
The dual national journalist, who was prohibited from leaving Algerian soil, illegally entered neighbouring Tunisia using her French passport.
Bouraoui was sentenced in May 2021 to two years in prison for "offending Islam" and "attacking the person of the President of the Republic" without a warrant of committal at the hearing. Thus, she was not jailed but denied the right to leave the country.
Following the activist's escape, the Algerian Foreign Ministry accused Paris of "violation of national sovereignty by French diplomatic, consular and security personnel who participated in the illegal and secret evacuation of an Algerian national."
Bouraoui's escape complicated already fragile ties between Paris and Algiers after months of Macron's half-hearted efforts to tackle historical and diplomatic wounds his country caused to its former colony.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited Algeria last year, warmly embracing President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on a trip that seemed to turn a page on years of tense relations.
Algeria's powerful military chief Said Chengriha recently spent three days in Paris to discuss military issues including the Sahel with France's Macron. Tebboune was due to visit Paris later this year.
Twelve French ministers have also visited Algiers, promising that the reason behind their visit is far from Paris' endeavour to secure a gas deal with the gas-rich country, instead, it is showing good faith and establishing a stronger friendship with Algeria.
On the other hand, Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi immediately after the fiasco, without giving a reason for the dismissal, triggering assumptions about a potential relationship between the two events.
However, the French daily le Monde said Bouraoui was allowed to leave Tunisian soil after authorisation from President Kais Saied himself.
The case also threatens to complicate ties between Algeria and Tunisia, which had also strengthened after Tunisia's Saied seized most powers by shutting down the parliament in 2021.