Mohamed Lahouazi/English version: Dalila Henache
The military court of Blida issued, on Tuesday, an international arrest warrant against former Defense Minister, Khaled Nezzar, his son Lotfi, and Belhamdine Farid, the director of the Algerian public pharmaceutical company, on charges of conspiracy and undermining public order, Algeria state television reported.
According to the same source, “the accused are charged conspiring and undermining public order, and these crimes are punishable by Articles 77 and 78 of the Penal Code and Article 284 of the Military Justice Act.”
On June 26, Khaled Nezzar published a tweet on his Twitter account, confirming his retreat from entering Algeria because of a plan to arrest him by the local authorities.
“I was about to return to Algeria when I received credible information about an arbitrary and unfair detention plan that is targeting me”, he said.
“I will return to the country once the situation is normalized and when a new president is democratically elected”, he added.
Previously, media sources spoke of the travel of Nezzar to Spain for treatment.
On May 13, the retired Major General, Khaled Nezzar, appeared before the Military Judge in Blida Court to testify about his relationship with Said Bouteflika, the brother of the resigning President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was accused of attempting to “overthrow the army leadership”, spreading chaos and imposing a state of emergency, oppressing the popular protests in order to extend the rule of his brother.
The former Defense Minister (1990-1994) was summoned to the Military Court after his disclosure, at the end of last April, about “a plan that was prepared by the brother of the resigning president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to deal with the popular protests and his efforts to move the country in an unknown way by declaring a state of emergency and attempting to terminate the functions of the army chief of staff Ahmed Gaid Saleh, in the context of his theft to the seal of the presidency and his unconstitutional takeover of the functions of his brother “the president”.
Khaled Nezzar, 81, was prosecuted in Switzerland on charges of war crimes and other crimes against humanity during the black decade of Algeria (bloody years of terrorism) in the 1990s.
However, the Swiss prosecutor announced in early 2017 that the court was unable to prove that the armed confrontations between 1992 and 1999 in Algeria were an “armed conflict” and therefore can not be applied to the Geneva Conventions.
Conspiracy: Algeria Civil and Military Laws
Article 284 of the Military Penal Code states: “Any person who commits a crime of conspiracy with the aim of prejudicing the authority of a military formation’s commander, a naval vessel or a military aircraft, or disrupting the order or security of a military formation, a naval ship or an aircraft, shall be punished by imprisonment with works from five to ten years”.
The article explains the crime of conspiracy, paragraph 2, as follows: “The conspiracy shall be based on the determination of two or more persons to commit it. The maximum penalty shall be applied to the highest-ranking military personnel and to the instigators of such conspiracy. If the conspiracy takes place in wartime and on territories where martial law or a state of emergency has been proclaimed or in any circumstances that could endanger the security of the military formation, the naval vessel or aircraft, or aiming to put pressure on the decision of the responsible military commander, the death penalty shall be imposed”.
Article 77, “amended”, of the Civil Penal Code states: “The crime shall be punishable by death penalty, which is either intended to destroy or change the system of government, or to incite citizens or the population to take up arms against the authority of the State or against one another, or to prejudice the national territorial integrity. The execution of an attack or the attempt to carry it out shall be deemed to be considered as an attack. The provisions of article 60 bis shall apply to the offense that is set forth in this article”.
Article 78 of the Civil Penal Code stipulates: “A conspiracy that intended to commit the offenses that are set forth in article 77 shall be punishable by 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment if it is followed by an act that is committed or which is prepared for implementation.
The penalty shall be temporary imprisonment of five to ten years if the conspiracy is not followed by an act that is committed or initiated in preparation for its implementation.
The conspiracy is based on the agreement of two or more persons to commit it. Anyone who offers a conspiracy plan for the purpose of committing the offenses that are set forth in Article 77 without accepting the offer shall be punished by imprisonment from one year to ten years and a fine of DZD 3,000 to 70,000. Furthermore, the perpetrator may be prevented from exercising all or part of the rights that are referred to in article 14 of this law or some of it.