The Supreme Court in Algeria accepted the cassation appeal in the case of former intelligence chiefs Lieutenant General Mohamed Medin (known as “Tawfiq”) and Major General Othman Tartag, as well as Said Bouteflika, brother of the former president, and Labor Party leader Louise Hanoune.
According to the statement of the highest body in the Algerian judiciary, the decision came at the request of the Military Prosecutor at the Appeals Council in Blida, where the Supreme Court over the weekend overturned the contested ruling, and referred the case and the parties to another group for adjudication.
On September 25, 2019, the military court in Blida (50 km south of the capital) convicted the aforementioned Rubai of the felony of “conspiring to violate the authority of the army and conspiring against the authority of the state,” and sentenced them to 15 years imprisonment.
After Gaid Saleh
But 60 days after President Abdel-Majid Taboun’s ascension to power, the Military Council released Louiza Hanoune after reducing her sentence to 3 years, of which 9 months are in force, while the rest of the sentences were supported by the other three in the appeals trial.
According to the decided veto, the defendants are preparing to appear before the military court again, but in a political context that is very different this time from the circumstances of the primary ruling, according to observers.
A few days ago, lighter appeals were issued against prominent figures in Bouteflika’s rule, most notably to former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdel-Malek Sallal and businessman Ali Haddad, while acquitting his brothers and easing penalties for others from the families of imprisoned businessmen.
Therefore, observers believe that the next round of the military trial comes in completely different circumstances, marked by new balances within the authority and a calm movement in the street, which makes the case open to all possibilities, including the innocence of the accused.
In this regard, the most prominent defense attorney, Farouk Constantini, affirmed that “accepting the appeal in the cassation imposes itself on its own, because the procedures were not in conformity with the law.”
He added that the heavy charges brought against those concerned did not have the material elements of the crime at all, according to the data of the judicial file under follow-up, which made the outputs far from being correct, with full respect for the provisions of Algerian justice, as he put it.
And he considered – in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net – that the military court was not originally competent from the material point of view in the matter, because the defendants are civilians, including the former intelligence chief, because they are in retirement status like the rest of the citizens, and the meeting place – which is the presidency of the republic – bears a civil character .
Constantine explained that he does not have evidence about the impact of the political situation during the era of the late Lieutenant-General Gaid Salah on the stages of the trial, but he believes that this will happen, “the fact that what happened has no logical explanation.”
The spokesman does not rule out that the Military Appeals Court declares this time that it does not have jurisdiction, so that the file is referred to civil litigation, stressing that “this is legally available to it without any objection.”
As for the core of the file, the lawyer denied, in whole and in detail, Salameh “the charge of conspiring against a military formation” directed at those involved, because its concept applies – according to his opinion – to the barracks and military teams, and not to the person of the chief of staff or the acting defense minister, as he remains an individual regardless of his position , Which is what the accused continue to do.
In the context, Constantine – who is the former head of the government human rights observatory – wondered how Louiza Hanoune could be exempted from the charge of conspiracy without the rest of her colleagues, even though they attended the aforementioned meeting 3 times in a row, then, “this is another evidence of the invalidity of the accusation on its basis.” His saying.
And he expected the military judiciary to be more independent after the departure of Lieutenant General Gaid Salah, stressing his confidence in the return of matters to normal.
Rather, the speaker seemed very optimistic that the entire group would soon obtain a patent, “being a logical legal result of an empty judicial file without physical evidence, especially in light of the shift towards a new Algeria governed by transparent justice.”
On the other hand, the attorney accredited to the Supreme Court, Ismail Maaraf, considered that accepting the appeal in this case is normal, due to the absence of legal basis for the charges.
He explained that “the file was moved by Lieutenant General Gaid Salah with personal motives of revenge, and it has nothing to do with national sovereignty, because the Chief of Staff himself (Gaid Salah) was working outside the constitution and legal legitimacy,” as he “turned the country into a barracks without regard for the will of the people to change.” Recipe.
Maaraf stressed – in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net – that “the real trial of the blood-general relates to his crimes in the 1990s, when 200,000 Algerians were killed, which is a sufficient charge to obtain the death penalty.”
The reopening of the case and its developments were explained by the existence of a power vacuum and an inability to bear the pressure of files, which prompted the new leadership to seek assistance from General Tawfiq’s team, and to turn the page of Gaid Salah, in an attempt to restore the former intelligence apparatus.
All this confirms – according to him – the desire for the survival of the system of government and reproduction of itself, with the aim of “preparing to continue harassing the symbols of the movement, so that there are no future dangers to the current system,” and thus it seems that the Egyptian scenario is being repeated in Algeria in a similar way, as he put it.
However, Maarif asserts that the game of the system this time will not be as easy as he wants it, “because the time for the street’s stupidity is over.”
He added that active youth movements are in charge of moving society, and had it not been for the Corona epidemic, the situation would have been different, stressing that the movement will soon return in a more effective way than before.
He said that the regime’s resort to burning forests, the issue of the Western Sahara, and other maneuvers that the people are accustomed to, will not change the coming equation.