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Algeria's interim president sacks justice minister amid political upheaval

Before he resigned in April, longtime Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika appointed minister
Algerian protesters demonstrate against ruling class on 30 July in Algiers (AFP)

Algeria's interim president has sacked the country's justice minister following an investigation into key figures of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika's administration, Algerian state television reported. 

Abdelkader Bensalah did not give a reason for the decision to get rid of Slimane Brahmi on Wednesday, and justice ministry officials contacted by AFP news agency were not immediately able to explain the move.

Algiers public prosecutor Belkacem Zeghmati will replace Brahmi, AFP reported. 

Since Bouteflika's resignation in April, the Algerian judiciary has opened a series of investigations into senior officials and business figures accused of corruption during Bouteflika's 20-year rule.

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The country's Supreme Court placed ex-prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia in custody last month over alleged corruption.

Several senior figures, including eight government ministers as well as another former prime minister, also appeared in court on suspicion of corruption in May.

That same month, Bouteflika's youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs were placed in custody by a military judge for "harming the army's authority and plotting against state authority".

Several prominent businessmen, some of whom were close to Bouteflika, have been detained pending trial, as well. 

The departing justice minister, Brahmi, was appointed by Bouteflika on 31 March, when the former president named a new government days before his resignation on 2 April. 

Bouteflika stepped down under pressure from the army amid weeks of popular protests against his bid for a fifth term in office.

The protesters are now seeking to push out Bensalah, Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui and military chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, along with other officials seen as close to Bouteflika's administration.

They have repeatedly called for a complete overhaul of Algeria's political system.

Meanwhile, the Algerian authorities postponed a presidential election previously set for 4 July, citing a lack of candidates. No new date has been set for the vote.