Sunday, September 20News That Matters

Algerian protesters demand release of jailed opposition leader

Hundreds of Algerians gathered in the capital on Friday for the 12th straight week of anti-government rallies and demanded the release of opposition leader Louisa Hanoune from prison.

“On Thursday, prosecutors at a military court in Algiers ordered the temporary incarceration of Hanoune,’’ the head of the leftist Workers’ Party, on unknown charges, her party said.

However, there has been no official confirmation of her arrest.

The 65-year-old politician was an outspoken critic of former Algerian president Abdulaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign in April.

Demonstrators rallied to the Central Post square, a focal point of the weekly protests in the capital.

They demanded Hanoune be released, or put on trial at a civil court if there were specific charges against her.

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“I oppose Louisa Hanoune’s political stances. But this does not mean she faces a military trial without the public knowing what are the charges filed against her,’’ Maysoum Ait, a protester, told dpa.

Algeria’s official news agency APS reported that the military court had summoned Hanoune on Thursday in connection with ongoing investigations into three key allies of Bouteflika, including his younger brother.

Weeks of street protests and pressure from the influential military forced Bouteflika to step down after he had governed the energy-rich North African country for 20 years.

Since then, demonstrations have continued to pressure key Bouteflika-era officials to step down, including interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

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Bouteflika’s rule is believed to have been dominated by cronyism and mismanagement. (dpa/NAN)

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