The ally of the former head of the Algerian army sentenced to death for “treason”

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An Algerian military officer and close ally of the former army chief has been sentenced to death for “high treason”, the French-language daily El Watan reported on Sunday.

Guermit Bounouira, who was known to be close to late army chief Ahmed Gaïd Salah, appeared before an appeals court on Thursday where he was found guilty of a list of charges, including disclosing classified information to third parties or States and damage to the interests of the armed forces.

While courts continue to issue death sentences in Algeria, a moratorium on capital punishment has been in place since 1993.

Bounouira, who was for a time private secretary to the former powerful Gaïd Salah, was extradited to Algeria by Turkey in 2020.

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Gaid Salah died of a heart attack in 2019, having played a key role as a go-between after longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was ousted from power earlier that year.

According to El Watan, Bounouira was accused of taking possession of classified military documents and using them to negotiate protected status.

The former head of the gendarmerie, Ghali Belksir, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the same case.

The court also handed down the same sentence to Larbi Zitout, a figurehead of the foreign-based Rashad movement after he was branded a terrorist organization by Algerian authorities in 2021.

Several high-ranking Algerian officers are wanted or have been convicted by military tribunals for corruption.

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