Turkey hands over fugitive Algerian officer

Turkey hands over fugitive Algerian officer

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An Algerian soldier, who is accused of having leaked confidential information from the Algerian army, was reportedly returned by the Turkish government last week.

Guermit Bounouira was handed over to Algerian security officials by Turkey on July 30 and faced a military judge in Blida prison southwest of Algiers on Aug. 3, accused of leaking military secrets, reported the local media of the country.

Algeria’s president phoned his Turkish counterpart last month to secure the return of a fugitive military official who fled Algeria days after its powerful army chief died in December, a top Algerian security source told Reuters.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about a week before Islam’s Eid al-Adha holiday, to request he hand Bounouira over, the source said.

Bounouira, a top aide to the late army chief Ahmed Gaed Salah, fled the country a week after Salah died suddenly in December 2019. Gaed Salah emerged last year as Algeria’s most powerful man when weekly mass protests succeeded in unseating the veteran president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and a host of other officials.

Bounouira is accused of leaking a chart showing movements of army officers including their names and codes, the source said. The chart has circulated on social media.

There are also corruption charges against Bounouira, who are reported to be in contact with retired former soldiers and opponents abroad.

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