Death sentence for killer of Algeria’s top cop

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A former Algerian police colonel was sentenced to death Monday for gunning down the national police chief Ali Tounsi during an office meeting in 2010, national news agency APS said.

Chouaib Oultache had been found guilty of murder after a trial that saw bitter sparring between the defence and prosecution.

The death sentence, which had been requested by prosecutors, was handed down after three hours of deliberation. Oultache's legal team have eight days to take the case to a higher court.

Algeria had the eighth highest tally of reported death sentences handed out in the world in 2015, according to rights group Amnesty International, but there has been a moratorium on capital punishment in the country since 1993.

Prosecutors charged that Oultache, who headed the air division of the Directorate General for National Security (DGSN), or civil police, opened fire on Tounsi at his Algiers office on February 25, 2010 after a heated dispute.

The court rejected Oultache's claim that he was defending himself after Tounsi threatened him with a letter-opener.

Tounsi was named police chief in 1994 when the bloodshed in Algeria between armed Islamist groups and security forces was at its peak. He focused on boosting counter-terror operations during his time in office.

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