Algerian ex-PM Sellal remanded in custody over graft allegation

Algeria’s supreme court on Thursday remanded former prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in custody over allegations of corruption. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 June 2019
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Algerian ex-PM Sellal remanded in custody over graft allegation

  • State TV said police later arrested Mourad Eulmi, head of the private firm SOVAC, a partner of Germany's Volkswagen AG , at a car assembly plant in the western province of Relizane over "corruption cases"
  • On Wednesday, the supreme court had ordered the detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, for alleged involvement in corruption

ALGIERS: Algeria’s supreme court on Thursday remanded ex-prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in custody over graft allegations, state TV said, in a continuing crackdown on corruption and cronyism among associates of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Sellal is one of the closest Bouteflika associates to be detained since mass protests broke out in February, demanding the prosecution of people that protesters regarded as corrupt as well as sweeping democratic change.
Sellal, who left office in a May 2017 cabinet reshuffle after serving as premier and Bouteflika's campaign manager several times, is under investigation over "dissipation of public funds", state television said.
His lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
State TV said police later arrested Mourad Eulmi, head of the private firm SOVAC, a partner of Germany's Volkswagen AG , at a car assembly plant in the western province of Relizane over "corruption cases". It did not elaborate.
Volkswagen declined to comment.
SOVAC and Volkswagen signed a $170 million deal in 2016 to set up a joint venture, with SOVAC holding a majority stake, to assemble vehicles under the Volkswagen, Volkswagen

FASTFACT

The Supreme Court’s decision against the ally of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika comes a day after another former Premier, Ahmed Ouyahia, was also remanded in custody.

Commercial Vehicles, SEAT and Skoda brands.
On Wednesday, the supreme court had ordered the detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, for alleged involvement in corruption, including "awarding illegal privileges and dissipation of public funds".
A judge at the supreme court confiscated the passport of former transport and public works minister Abdelghani Zaalane and ordered him to show up at the court once a month, state TV reported on Thursday, after saying on Wednesday he was detained.
Bouteflika stepped down on April 2 under pressure from the army, which is now the main decision-maker. Its chief of staff, Ahmed Gaed Salah, has urged the courts to speed up prosecution of people suspected of involvement in corruption.
Bouteflika’s youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge for “harming the army’s authority and plotting against state authority”, according to state television.
Several prominent businessmen, some of them close to Bouteflika, have been detained pending trial.
Protesters are now seeking the departure of interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, both seen as part of the elite that has ruled Algeria since independence from France in 1962.
Authorities have postponed a presidential election previously planned for July 4, citing a lack of candidates. No new date has been set for the vote.


Iran activists vow to confront Rouhani over ‘medieval’ regime

Updated 21 September 2019
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Iran activists vow to confront Rouhani over ‘medieval’ regime

  • ‘We will continue protesting until Iranian regime is held responsible for its ongoing atrocities against people of Iran’

WASHINGTON: Protesters have vowed to confront Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the country’s “medieval regime” when he addresses the UN on Wednesday.

People started gathering last week near the UN’s headquarters in New York and their numbers will continue to grow, according to the political director for the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), which coordinates anti-Tehran activism in the US.

The OIAC’s Dr. Majid Sadeghpour said the international community should not be “fooled” by Iran's representatives. 

“No amount of economic and political concessions can moderate the behavior of this medieval regime,” he said. 

“The mullahs understand only the language of power and firmness. Maximum pressure must be applied to help the Iranian people free themselves from the yoke of the mullahs. We began protesting last week in anticipation of the opening of the UN General Assembly’s 74th Session and the appearance of Iran's officials, and we will continue protesting until the Iranian regime is held responsible for its ongoing atrocities against the people of Iran.”

Protestors were holding daily vigils to remind the world about Iran's history of terror and brutality against its people, he added, and Trump and the UN must “reject the false pretenses of moderation” from Rouhani and his representatives.

Sadeghpour said Rouhani and other Iranian officials should be held accountable for the killing of more than 120,000 Iranian civilians, including the 30,000 murdered during a gruesome nationwide purge in 1988.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has previously addressed protests against the Iranian government, is expected to join former Sen. Joseph Lieberman in speaking to protesters at next week’s rallies.

Trump had previously accused Iran of terrorism and violence, but appeared to soften his stance when he said he would meet Rouhani if he came to the opening session of the UN’s 74th General Assembly.

But a week ago, after a coordinated drone and cruise missile attack targeted Saudi Aramco oil fields in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, Trump said the US military was “locked and loaded,” suggesting the US was ready to go to war with Iran. 

Trump said he would move to block Rouhani and his team from attending the UN meeting, but he later relented.

On Friday he revealed details of additional sanctions against Iran, which he described as the toughest ever imposed.

The Treasury Department decided to take action against Iran’s central bank after US officials concluded Tehran was responsible for the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.