An Algerian military officer and one of the close ally of the former army chief has been sentenced to death over charges of “high treason”.

Guermit Bounouira, who was known to be close to late army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, appeared Thursday in front of an appeals court where he was found guilty of a roster of charges, including disclosing classified information to third parties or states and harming the army’s interests.

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While the court continues to hand out death sentences in Algeria, there has been a moratorium on capital punishment since 1993.

Bounouira, who served as the once-powerful Gaid Salah’s private secretary for a time, was extradited to Algeria by Turkey in 2020.

Gaid Salah died of a heart attack in 2019, having played a key role as a powerbroker after longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika was swept from power earlier this year.

As per reports, Bounouira was accused of taking possession of classified military documents and using them to bargain for protected status.

The former chief of the gendarmerie, Ghali Belksir, was sentenced to life in prison in the same case.

The court has also handed the same sentence to Larbi Zitout, a leading figure in the movement Rashad, based abroad, after having been branded a terrorist organisation by Algerian authorities in 2021.

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Several high-ranking Algerian officers are wanted or have been sentenced by military courts on corruption charges.

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