Paris arrests MAK top official over Algeria’s 2021 forest fires

Paris arrests MAK top official over Algeria’s 2021 forest fires

Relations between France and the Algerian separatist movement MAK have plummeted after Paris arrested one of its key figures on June 20th, according to the organisation itself.

French authorities arrested Aksel Bellabacci in Paris upon an international arrest warrant issued by Algeria in a move which has signaled Emmanuel Macron’s underlined support for Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune just weeks before he is likely to be re-elected in September.

The warrant itself is based on Algeria’s unsubstantiated claims that the MAK movement was behind forest fires in 2021 which kills hundreds of civilians with over 50 death sentences already handed down by the regime.

READ: Algeria: Leading parties endorse Tebboune for re-election

MAK, it should be noted, accused the regime itself of being behind them and is shocked by the news of the arrest of one of its key activists who is considered close to its chief Ferhat Mehenni. The arrest comes at a time when the Paris-based movement has ratcheted up relations both with London and Washington and has widespread implications beyond the group and its members. Rabat will, in particular, take note of France’s proximity to the Algerian regime as well as Washington which rejects wholesale MAK being branded as a terrorist organization.

The organization, which has a huge base in France, immediately called for its members to stage a protest in Paris in front of a courthouse.

“The fanciful nature of the Algerian accusations relating to the fires of summer 2021 will finally come to light,” MAK President Ferhat Mehenni tweeted. “Although there is no evidence, the French justice system is required to examine Algeria’s request.”

“While Algeria also alternatively accused both Israel and Morocco of starting the fires, no evidence has ever been provided against either the MAK or these two countries,” he asserted.

“The MAK has been calling for an international investigation into these events for three years now” a statement read. “France taking Mr. Bellabbaci into custody foreshadows a very serious and dangerous precedent”.





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