Algeria's supreme court has remanded ex-prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in custody over graft allegations, state TV said, in a continuing crackdown on alleged corruption and cronyism among associates of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Sellal is one of the closest Bouteflika associates to be detained since mass protests broke out in February, demanding the prosecution of people that protesters regarded as corrupt as well as sweeping democratic change.
Sellal, who left office in a May 2017 cabinet reshuffle after serving as premier and Bouteflika's campaign manager several times, is under investigation over "dissipation of public funds", state television said.
His lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
Former trade minister Amara Benyounes, who served under Sellal from April 2014 to July 2015, appeared before the supreme court in a corruption case, state television said, without giving details.
On Wednesday, the supreme court had ordered the detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, for alleged involvement in corruption, including "awarding illegal privileges and dissipation of public funds".
A judge at the supreme court confiscated the passport of former transport and public works minister Abdelghani Zaalane and ordered him to show up at the court once a month, state TV reported on Thursday, after saying on Wednesday he was detained.
Bouteflika stepped down on April 2 under pressure from the army, which is now the main decision-maker. Its chief of staff, Ahmed Gaed Salah, has urged the courts to speed up prosecution of people suspected of involvement in corruption.
Protesters are now seeking the departure of Interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, both seen as part of the elite that has ruled Algeria since independence from France in 1962.
Authorities have postponed a presidential election previously planned for July 4, citing a lack of candidates. No new date has been set for the vote.
Australian Associated Press