Cocaine / Prime minister of Algeria, named in 700 Kg scandal

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Noureddine Bedoui

Nourredine Bedoui, the current Prime Minister of Algeria was explicitly named in the cocaine scandal that shook the country last year, when 700 Kilograms of cocaine intended for commercialisation in Europe were seized in shipping containers at Oran’s port.

His name was later cleared after the intervention of his friend Tayeb Louh, former minister of justice, a man who claimed psychiatric illness to avoid enrolling in the compulsory military service as a young man. According to media reports, Jallal Lemhel, son of the former Wali of Relizane in the 80s and 90s, named Nourredine Bedoui as a person of interest, when he confessed before a judge. At the time, Noureddine Bedoui was the interior minister of the country.

According to the testimony of Jallal Lemhel, Nourredine Bedoui and Abdelkader Bouazghi, Minister of Agriculture, had a very close relationship with Kamel AKA ‘the Butcher’, the businessman currently being held on charges of the trafficking. The latter had received substantial support from these two ministers in order to grow his business and develop his financial empire.

Jallal Lemhel is known to play the role of intermediary between oligarchs and high-ranking politicians in order to obtain significant benefits (land, real estate, building permits, administrative authorisations, etc.) for their investments in exchange of bribes.

Only a few weeks later, Jallal Lemhel will retract before the same investigating judge and cancel his testimony against Bedoui and Bouazghi. What motivated such a drastic turn in his testimony? According to news outlet Algerie Part, whose editor-in-chief is currently in exile in France following his arbitrary arrest and subsequent release, and whose wife’s car was burned last week by regime mercenaries as a reprisal for his investigative work, Jallal Lemhel’s father went to El-Harrach Prison to reason with his son, convince him to review his testimony and exonerate Algeria’s current prime minister Noureddine Bedoui. In exchange, the family is alleged to have received a large sum of money by the same media source.

Noureddine Bedoui, during last Friday’s demonstrations ordered the use of tear gas and rubber bullets on demonstrators, amongst which were many children and elderly people.

Yesterday, Noureddine Bedoui ordered the arrest of four democracy activists, who were then taken to a police station in the district of Baraki. According to the arrestees, the female activists were stripped naked by police officers. No reason was given for their arrest.

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