Trial of President's Son Opens in Algiers Amidst Pass Protests

Published February 5th, 2020 - 09:49 GMT
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. AFP
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. AFP

The trial of the son of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune opened on Wednesday, stirring nationwide controversy.

Khalid Tebboune is on trial in a corruption and drug trafficking case, alongside real-estate mogul Kamal Sheikhi, dubbed the butcher, and other suspects that include two judges.

This comes amid ongoing protests against Tebboune with demonstrators saying he was placed in power by loyalists to the former regime of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The defendants were arrested in May 2018 after the seizure of seven quintals of cocaine on a ship. The drugs were hidden in a red meat shipment belonging to Sheikhi, which he imported from Brazil as part of a commercial deal with the Algerian army.

 

According to investigations carried out by the gendarmerie research group, many of Sheikhi’s buildings in the capital were constructed in record time thanks to exceptional facilities he received as a result of Tebboune’s intervention at a time his father was housing minister in the former cabinet.

Tebboune would make it easier for Sheikhi to be granted construction permits.

Authorities had relocated Tebboune from a cell in El Harrach prison to the penitentiary’s clinic. This was done to ensure his safety and in fear of other inmates attacking him now that he is the son of the president.

A fierce debate among politicians regarding the way the judiciary will deal with the president's son. Many questions arose, such as: Will he be acquitted despite the fact that investigations confirmed that he personally benefited from the relationship with Sheikhi?

If Tebboune is convicted, this will inevitably hurt the president's reputation, both domestically and internationally, because his personal involvement in the case will also be confirmed.
 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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