The trial of Major General Hadj Laaroussi Djamel, former head of the 2nd Military Region (Western Algeria), accused of divulging secret documents and conspiracy against the army, opened on Thursday 23 March at the military court in Blida, 50 km south of Algiers. The trial is taking place behind closed doors and has been completely ignored by the Algerian media.
A score of military and civilian personnel are with him in the dock.
Secretive and very discreet, Major General Laaroussi made himself known to the Algerian media in September 2020, on the occasion of his inauguration by General Saïd Chengriha, Chief of Staff of the Algerian Army, as head of the 2nd Military Region. He succeeded Major General Souab Meftah, who had died a few days earlier.
At the head of a military region based in Oran, the capital of western Algeria, General Laaroussi occupied a sensitive post insofar as part of this sensitive region borders Morocco, a country considered by the Algerian political-military powers to be their number one enemy. The 2nd Military Region comprises twelve administrative departments: Oran, Tlemcen, Sidi Bel Abbès, Mostaganem, Tiaret, Aïn Témouchent, Mascara, Bayadh, Naâma, Relizane, Tissemsilt and Saïda. It is also a source of enrichment for many military commanders, some of whom are currently in prison for having abused their position by illicitly enriching themselves.
Two years after taking office in December 2022, General Laaroussi was relieved of his duties before being taken to the "Antar" barracks for harsh interrogation. Three months later, he faced the judges of the military court. He is accused of having revealed secret military documents and of conspiring against the army. An accusation that people close to the case describe as implausible. In reality, General Laaroussi exchanged conversations with many of his family members, collaborators and friends about the political situation in the country and the poisoned atmosphere in the barracks and military units. This is seen as criticism of the performance of the army chief of staff, General Saïd Chengriha. The latter considers this criticism as a conspiracy against the army. Moreover, having been the target of attempts to remove him from his post, as we reported in one of our previous editions, the Algerian army chief of staff is on guard and is extremely stern in order to annihilate any attempt to strengthen the side of the contenders.
The trial against General Laaroussi and his acolytes, whose verdict will be pronounced at the beginning of next week, is likely to result in very severe sentences.