The trial of Said Bouteflika, Generals Toufik and Tartak, and Louisa Hanoune, along with the former National Defense Minister, Major General Khaled Nezzar, his son Lotfi and the “Mediator” Farid Ben Hamdine, will begin here on Monday in the first heavy trial at the military court in Blida, awaiting further trials that are no less dangerous than the crime of “conspiracy” like the Khalifa and Sonatrach corruption cases, Al-Boushi and the highway cases, in addition to the trials of the “entourage” of the Bouteflika regime who are accused of corruption and concealment of files such as the Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, and his predecessor Abdelmalek Sallal and ministers in their governments, in addition to the general assistants of the loyal parties and former ministers, such as Ould Abbas, Amar Ghoul, Djemai and Amara Ben Younes.
National and even the international public opinion awaits the unique trial in Algeria, given the weight of the accusations and the importance of the military and political figures who are facing heavy charges.
With the announcement of the opening of the trial of Said Bouteflika, General Toufik, Tartag, Louiza Hanoune and Khaled Nezzar and his son who is fleeing justice, here on Monday, the “heavy” trials will be launched like the Khalifa file, which was described as a scandal of the century during the tenure of the former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and the Sonatrach case, which was revived by the popular movement.
Four years after the folding of the Khalifa case, or the so-called “scandal of the century”, in which the criminal court of Blida imposed an 18-year sentence against the principal defendant in the case, Abdelmoumene Khalifa, who appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court level, the file was reopened on last May, at the level of the second chamber of the same court where the names and influential figures were summoned and excluded from the list of defendants despite their involvement in the case.
It is a case that caused a loss of $5 billion to the state treasury, headed by the head of the gang, Said Bouteflika, former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, Minister Abdel Salam Bouchouarab, Sidi Said and other officials who were removed from the case file and were not mentioned, according to the procedures that are stipulated in the article 573 of the Code of Criminal Procedure concerning the privilege of litigation.
The reopening of the Khalifa file also coincided with the reopening of another corruption file involving Algeria’s largest oil company, Sonatrach, which is linked to a $ 250 million bribe that the company and the public treasury incurred, with the complicity of certain parties, by manipulating the Public Transactions Law, which was not respected by Sonatrach that is under the control of the Accounting Board and the General Inspectorate of Finance.
The case was blown up in early 2010 and later the list developed and expanded to those involved in stages known as Sonatrach cases 1 and 2, and the former energy minister Chakib Khalil is the most prominent defendants in the case, with the former General Director of Sonatrach Mohamed Meziane. The Criminal Court of Algiers Judicial Council issued in February 2016 varying charges against the defendants that ranged from guiltiness to six years of imprisonment with fines against some of them, while Khalil escaped prosecution after dropping an international arrest warrant against him due to a mistake in the proceedings, he was summoned on April 24 by the Supreme Court for interrogation, but the latter filed a medical file as a pretext for not complying with the court’s summons.
The judicial authorities will commence adjudication in another scandal that made the event in 2018, in which Kamal Shikhi, known as “Al-Boushi”, is accused in the case of smuggling 701 kg of cocaine, a trial that will unveil many facts involving important names. The trials of the so-called “entourage” of the Bouteflika regime will also be launched by influential ministers, officials, and executives who are facing various charges, including the exploitation of influence, unjustly granting privileges and deals and contracts which are contrary to the regulation and legislation in force, and trials of so-called “financial cartel” who are in prison in El Harrach, such as Rabrab, Haddad, Kouninev and others, on suspicion of involvement in corruption cases.