Former leader of Algerian ruling party held in custody for suspected corruption

ALGIERS The Algerian supreme court held a former leader of the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) in custody as part of a wide-scale crackdown on corruption.

Djamel Ould Abbes, former secretary-general of FLN and former minister of solidarity, attended a court hearing over charges of involvement in corruption during his tenure in government services from 1999 to 2010, reported state-run ENTV channel.

The 85-year-old is facing charges of public fund squandering, abuse of power, violation of public procurement procedures to sign contracts illegally and falsification of public documents.

He also held the health portfolio between 2010 and 2012 before being appointed the FLN secretary-general from 2016 to 2018 and then senator at the Council of the Nation.

Some former government senior officials, including two former prime ministers, Abdelmalek Sellal and Ahmed Ouyahia, were already in custody.

The anti-corruption campaign comes amid popular protests that have been shaking the North African nation since Feb. 22, in which the demonstrators demand a fight against corruption and the establishment of the rule of law.