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Brother of Algeria’s ex-President Bouteflika placed in custody by military judge

Zohra Bensemra, Reuters | Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika smiles as he arrives with his brother Said at his campaign's communications department during a surprise visit in Algiers, Algeria April 10, 2009.

An Algerian military judge on Sunday placed in custody the youngest brother of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and two former intelligence chiefs, state TV reported.

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Said Bouteflika and the two generals, Athmane Tartag and Mohamed Mediene, were arrested on Saturday, state TV said on Sunday.

The three are under investigation over "harming the army's authority and plotting against state authority", it said, quoting a statement from the prosecutor at the military court of Blida, south of Algiers.

It did not elaborate on the allegations but the news that the three have been detained may go some way to satisfying protesters in Algeria who have demanded a broad overhaul of the political system since President Bouteflika stepped down last month.

FRANCE 24's Moncef Ait Kaci reports from Algiers

TV footage showed the defendants entering the court near a military base, 40 km from Algiers.

Said Bouteflika, who served as a top adviser to the presidency, acted as Algeria's de facto ruler after his brother suffered a stroke in 2013 that left him in a wheelchair.

Mediene had been intelligence chief for 25 years until his dismissal by Bouteflika in 2015.

Massive protests calling for a radical change to Bouteflika's government pushed the ailing president to resign on April 2. Demonstrators continue to demand the removal of all those linked the former administration.

Army chief of staff Ahmed Gaed Salah has promised to rid the country of corrupt politicians, oligarchs and military officials to restore confidence among the people.

Last month he accused Mediene of trying to undermine the transition that is due to end with the presidential election on July 4.

Several businessmen, including the country's richest man, Issad Rebrab, have been placed in custody pending completion of investigations of corruption allegations.

Finance Minister Mohamed Loukal and former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyhia also appeared in an Algiers court last week on charges related to "dissipation of public funds".

Protesters are also seeking the resignation of Prime Minister Nouredine Bedoui and interim president Abdelkader Bensalah, who replaced Bouteflika for 90 days to oversee the election,

Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, is considered by Algerians as part of the ruling elite that has run the country since independence from France in 1962.

(REUTERS)

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