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Algerian court orders detention of ex-justice minister

Tayeb Louh joins long list of former officials arrested since resignation of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Algerians protest in Algiers against ruling elites on 16 August (AFP)

Algeria's supreme court ordered the detention of former justice minister Tayeb Louh in the latest arrest of ex-government figures who served under former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Louh is being investigated for abusing his powers, impeding justice and encouraging bias and corruption, Algeria's official news agency APS reported on Thursday.  

The former justice minister, who served from September 2013 to March of this year, joined a long list of ex-officials detained on charges of corruption, including two former prime ministers and eight government ministers.

Earlier this month, the country's ex-labour minister Mohamed El Ghazi as well as former public works and transport minister Abdelghani Zaalane were also detained

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The pair were accused of "dissipation of public funds" and abusing their functions among other charges.

Louh's detention comes amid ongoing investigations into government corruption under Bouteflika, who stepped down in April after months of protests against his attempt to run for a fifth term as president.

Early in July, the former head of Bouteflika's ruling party, Djamel Ould Abbes, was also placed in detention on allegations including "squandering public money".

Bouteflika's younger brother was arrested in May, but the 82-year-old former president has remained free. 

Following Bouteflika's resignation in April, protests continued to call for the removal of figures associated with his era, including the interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah.

With no date set for the election of a new president, the Algerian military and its powerful chief of staff, Ahmed Gaid Salah, have become the de-facto rulers of the country.

Algerian authorities postponed a presidential election previously set for 4 July, citing a lack of candidates. Last month, the government appointed a panel to hold a dialogue with the opposition and set election dates.

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