Algerian interim president sacks justice minister

Algerian upper house chairman Abdelkader Bensalah is pictured after being appointed as interim president by Algeria's parliament in Algiers. (File photo: AFP)

Algeria’s interim president abruptly sacked the country’s justice minister on Wednesday, state media said, amid graft probes into key figures from the regime of former ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Interim president Abdelkader Bensalah’s statement gave no reason for the decision to lay off Slimane Brahmi, and justice ministry officials contacted by AFP were not immediately able to explain the move.

It follows several high-profile figures close to Bouteflika being detained over corruption cases – which some in the opposition fear may be used by regime factions to settle scores.

Algerians have been staging mass rallies since February, leading to the ouster of Bouteflika on April 2.

But efforts to organize new presidential elections have stalled as protesters demand the departure of key regime figures and an overhaul of the North African country’s political system.

A veteran lawyer, Brahmi was replaced by Belkacem Zeghmati, who has twice served as prosecutor-general at Algiers’ court of justice.

Since Bouteflika’s departure, the judiciary has opened a series of probes targeting senior officials and business figures accused of corruption during his 20-year rule.

Two ex-prime ministers, six other former ministers, a former police chief and several of the country’s top businessmen have been detained.

The investigations have the backing of army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, a key power-broker following Bouteflika’s downfall.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:00 - GMT 07:00
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