It is a scenario that he had surely not considered during his judgment on September 23, 2019 by the military court of Blida for conspiracy “against the authority of the State and the army”. Mohamed Médiène, known as “Toufik”, feared director of the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS) for twenty-five years was honored on August 4 by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on the occasion of the National Day of the National Army. popular (ANP).
A rehabilitation which also concerned another ex-detainee, General Hocine Benhadid, as well as the former Minister of Defense Khaled Nezzar (1990-1993), also worried by the justice of the time of the ex-head of state -Major Ahmed Gaïd Salah. None of them was present at the ceremony for “health reasons”. Their medals will be delivered to their homes.
This distinction of “former members of the ALN who continued to serve the country after independence” came on the occasion of National Army Day, now celebrated on August 4 each year.
The “plot” against Gaïd Salah
Other retired or active soldiers were also honored by the President of the Republic at the Circle of the Army, in Beni Messous, in the presence of the Chief of Staff, Saïd Chengriha. Among them, former President Liamine Zeroual and three retired generals, Selim Sadi, Abdelmadjid Cherif and Mohamed Betchine.
Algeria: in the secret of the rehabilitation of General “Toufik”, ex-boss of the DRS
Retired generals Mohamed Médiène, Hocine Belhadid and Khaled Nezzar have long been in the crosshairs of former army boss Ahmed Gaïd Salah, who held the reins of the country for several months after the forced resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika on April 2, 2019.
A week before the fall of Bouteflika, Ahmed Gaïd Salah distances himself from the head of state and even calls for his dismissal. He suspects the brother and adviser to President Saïd Bouteflika of plotting with General “Toufik” to eliminate him from the scene by relaunching an old plan: to propose to Liamine Zeroual, who has withdrawn from political life since his resignation from the presidency in 1999 , to lead a period of transition. But he refuses.
On April 16, 2019, Ahmed Gaïd Salah issued a final warning to retired General “Toufik”, accusing him of having participated in secret meetings “in order to hinder the solutions of the National Army and the proposals for leaving crisis “. What are the origins of these accusations? A meeting between Saïd Bouteflika and General Toufik, on March 27, 2019, in an official residence on the heights of Algiers. The wind of protest threatens to take Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his clan with him.
In the afternoon, the duo is joined by Louisa Hanoune, who refuses, according to her words, the Zeroual track and calls for a transition period under the aegis of civil society. The conversation is listened to by the security services and transmitted to Ahmed Gaïd Salah. The latter swears to crack down. The sanction falls in early May, a month after the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Algeria: Louisa Hanoune admits having participated in a “consultative meeting” with Saïd Bouteflika
Retired General Toufik as well as Saïd Bouteflika and the general secretary of the Workers’ Party (PT) Louisa Hanoune are placed under arrest warrant by the military court of Blida. The three defendants were sentenced in September 2019 to fifteen years in prison during a flash trial for “conspiracy against the authority of the State and the army”. But Ahmed Gaïd Salah died on December 23, 2019 following a heart attack. The three convicts were finally acquitted on appeal by the Blida Military Court on January 2, 2021.
The Nezzar and Benhadid cases
As for Khaled Nezzar, he is heard on May 14, 2019 in the context of the same case, first as a witness. He declares before the court that Saïd Bouteflika, who has no constitutional power, was considering establishing a state of emergency and dismissing General Gaïd Salah in order to put an end to the rebellion against the president. He specifies that Saïd Bouteflika consulted him on this roadmap, which General Nezzar advised him not to apply. He is released from court.
But when, on July 15, 2019, Khaled Nezzar openly attacks General Gaïd Salah by writing on his Twitter account that “Algeria is taken hostage by a brutal individual who imposed the fourth term and inspired the fifth term of ‘Abdelaziz Bouteflika’, he goes from the status of witness to that of accused. An international arrest warrant was issued against him in August, while he was in Spain.
Algeria: Khalida Toumi, the underside of a release
Sentenced in absentia to twenty years’ imprisonment for “conspiracy against the authority of the army and breach of public order”, the former Minister of Defense returns to Algeria in December 2020 to liquidate his arrest warrant. international to the military court of Blida, which releases him. Its rehabilitation is already well underway.
Commander of the 3rd Military Region and the 8th Armored Division, renowned for his commitment to the fight against terrorism, retired General Hocine Benhadid was also in the sights of Ahmed Gaïd Salah. In September 2015, the former chief of staff had him placed in pre-trial detention for “contempt of constituted bodies” after a moral scandal at the Blida Officer Training School, which he then directed.
Released ten months later for health reasons, Hocine Benhadid was sentenced in March 2018 to a one-year suspended prison sentence. A year later, back to prison, this time for having denounced the absolute power of Ahmed Gaïd Salah. Placed in preventive detention, he was then prosecuted for “undermining state security and the morale of the army”.
Algeria-France: what Abdelmadjid Tebboune said to Benjamin Stora
Hocine Benhadid was finally released ten days after the death of Ahmed Gaïd Salah. His successor Saïd Chengriha had his diplomatic passport returned to General Benhadid. On July 4, 2020, Hocine Belhadid received the Chief of Staff at his home, for a courtesy visit during which the latter invited him to take part in the ceremony celebrating the 58th anniversary of independence, during which he receives the honors of senior officers, as well as those of civilian officials.
Three years after their disgrace, the three generals are thus definitively rehabilitated.