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Algeria court detains former justice minister over alleged corruption

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ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algeria’s Supreme Court on Thursday placed former justice minister Tayeb Louh in custody over alleged corruption under former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, state television reported.

Louh became the eighth ex-minister to be detained since mass protests broke out this year demanding the prosecution of people suspected of corruption and the departure of the ruling elite.

The state channel provided no details on charges against Louh, who served as justice minister from September 2013 to March 2019. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Two former prime ministers have also been in detention after anti-graft investigations since the protests forced Bouteflika to step down on April 2., ending his 20-year-rule.

The army is now the main player in Algeria’s politics, and its chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah has vowed to help the judiciary prosecute people suspected of involvement in corruption cases.

Protesters now want the departure of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, who are seen by demonstrators as part of the old guard.

Bensalah has named a panel to start talks with the opposition with the aim of preparing and setting a date for presidential elections.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Alison Williams)

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