Algeria.President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s plan for an amnesty for crimes committed during the civil war was approved in a September 29 referendum. The so-called Declaration for Peace and Reconciliation meant that the legal processes against many persons accused of crimes in connection with the civil war were interrupted. The amnesty included both Islamist rebels and government soldiers, with the exception of people involved in massacres, rapes and bomb attacks. According to countryaah, Algiers is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Algeria. Citizens who were affected in various ways by the fighting would receive financial compensation. The declaration also contained a writing that paid tribute to the country’s army and security forces. Some critics said that amnesty was a way for Bouteflika to avoid being held accountable, including because about 6,000 people were still missing since the civil war. The human rights organization Amnesty International also claimed that the declaration freed the military from responsibility for the human rights violations committed during the war and that it hindered the investigation of crimes. But no criticism of the declaration was made in the state etheric media before the vote. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 97% voted in favor of the declaration. The turnout was said to have been 79%.
The Ministry of the Interior announced on January 4 that the GIA (Groupe Islamique Armée) terrorist group was largely wiped out since the military first seized its highest leader in late 2004 and then killed its successor. But sporadic Islamist attacks on government forces continued to be reported during the year. In most cases, however, the guerrilla group GSPC (Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat) was said to be behind the attacks.
Africa’s largest mosque inaugurated
In Algiers, a mosque is inaugurated, which is the largest in Africa and the third largest in the world after shrines in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The architecture is modern and the mosque will accommodate 1 2 0 000 worshipers. A minaret, 267 meters high and equipped with a viewing deck, is said to be the tallest in the world. The construction has been taken care of by the Chinese and was completed in 2019, but the project has been criticized for being a manifestation of greatness madness that prevailed under the former president Bouteflika, who was forced to resign the same month, in April 2019. Current president Tebboune would have held the inauguration, which takes place tonight before the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, but he is in hospital in Germany. There have been cases of covid-19 in his vicinity.
Long sentences for convicts in the former president’s circle
Businesswoman Zoulikha Nachinache is sentenced to twelve years in prison for, among other things, corruption, money laundering and currency crimes. Because she is mentioned as the daughter of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the verdict arouses interest: she is reported to have used contacts and kinship to circumvent the law. She is also sentenced to a fine and property seized. Two ministers and a former police chief are simultaneously sentenced to ten years in prison each and Nachinache’s two daughters to five years. The tangle is one of many that have led to convictions for people around the ex-president since he was forced out of power in 2019. Nachinache appeals in vain; the verdict is set on New Year’s Eve.
HRW: Migrants are expelled from the country
Algerian security forces are collecting and forcibly relocating African migrants who are taken to the border with Niger and forced to leave the country there, Human Rights Watch (HRW) states. The organization, which bases its report on data from NGOs in Niger, estimates that more than 3,400 people have been arbitrarily subjected to that treatment in the past month alone and around 16,000 during the year. Among the migrants, about 20 nationalities have been counted. For several years in a row, thousands have been deported to Niger, according to HRW, which demands greater legal certainty for migrants.
Longest Hirak sentence to date
A leading member of the protest movement Hirak is sentenced to ten years in prison for insulting Islam. Yacine Mebarki must also pay a fine corresponding to three quarters of a million kronor. The sentence is said to be the longest so far against a member of the protest movement who carried out demonstrations throughout 2019 and up to the corona pandemic 2020, and who also managed to force former president Bouteflika to resign. The verdict will be appealed. A support group for political prisoners states that 61 people are currently being held for acts linked to Hirak.
The United States and Algeria are strengthening their ties
Algeria and the United States will strengthen their cooperation on security issues in North Africa and the Sahel, the news reads when President Tebboune, who also holds the post of Minister of Defense, receives US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. This is the first time in 15 years that a US Secretary of Defense has visited and Esper advocates expanded military cooperation. Both Algiers and Washington are concerned about the conflicts in Libya and Mali. The United States also has the goal of selling weapons to Algeria, which is mainly a customer of Russian arms factories.