Leader of ousted President Bouteflika's party detained in Algeria

Leader of ousted President Bouteflika's party detained in Algeria
Arrests of high-profile figures in ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's regime have been frequent in recent months.
2 min read
20 September, 2019
Protests against a planned presidential election continue in Algeria [Getty]

The head of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's party was detained on Thursday, accused of "destroying official documents" and issuing "threats", Algerian public radio reported.

The move is the latest in a series of legal moves against high-profile figures in Bouteflika's regime accused of corruption.

Protesters have welcomed such arrests but many fear they are little more than a high-level purge and a power struggle between still-powerful regime insiders, rather than a genuine effort to reform the state.

Mohamed Djemai was elected to lead the National Liberation Front (FLN) in late April after Bouteflika's resignation earlier that month after months of mass protests.

Since the longtime leader's departure from office, authorities have opened a string of investigations into suspected graft of high-ranking officials and business figures accused of having exploited their ties to the veteran leader.

In early September, the justice ministry requested parliament remove immunity from Djemai, a 50-year-old businessman.

Djemai's predecessor as FLN chief, Djamel Ould Abbes - along with the heads of the National Rally for Democracy and two other political parties - have also been detained in recent weeks. 

Weekly protests in Algeria, which began as calls for the ousted president to cancel his bid for a fifth term in office, have continued since Bouteflika was prompted to resignnation.

Algeria's military on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers from entering the capital as protests against a planned presidential election sweep the nation.
Demonstrators oppose the president election happening on 12 December, and instead have urged political reform and the removal of Bouteflika regime loyalists before an election takes place. 

An Algerian court on Thursday ordered the pre-trial detention of former state TV journalist and university professor Fodil Boumala.

He is the third protest movement figure to be detained on the same charge within a week, following Karim Tabou last week and Samir Benlarbi on Tuesday.
Dozens of protesters detained for carrying Amazigh (Berber) flags remain in jail as the army attempts to toughen its stance on demonstrations.