Mohamed Abdellah had been in exile in Spain since 2019 when he fled Algeria after exposing alleged corruption but was sent back and is now imprisoned.
By Inigo Alexander/Aljazeera News
Madrid, Spain – After joining the Algerian border patrol forces in 2013 the former gendarme Mohamed Abdellah started to suspect that something was amiss.
Abdellah was an aerial supervisor on the border patrol’s helicopters and as such was responsible for operating the surveillance cameras and monitoring activities across the border between Algeria and Tunisia.
During his time as an aerial supervisor, Abdellah alleges he encountered widespread corruption, bribery, fraudulent conduct, and contraband of arms and petrol across the border, fostered by high-ranking officers of the Algerian Gendarmerie.
Eventually, Abdellah opted to sound the alarm and report what he witnessed to his superiors, but his efforts were to no avail.
Today, Abdellah finds himself behind bars at an Algerian detention centre in the city of Kolea. He is awaiting military trial following his sudden extradition from Spain earlier this year, where he had sought political asylum.
Abdellah’s case is fraught with complexities, contrasting allegations, and set amid a charged political atmosphere.
His wife told Al Jazeera that upon raising the issue with his superiors he was given two simple choices: either turn a blind eye and ignore what he had seen, or choose to comply and engage with the corruption among the forces.
Instead, Abdellah turned to anti-corruption activists both in Algeria and abroad in hopes of finding support, and leaked information and evidence he had compiled. Sources close to Abdellah told Al Jazeera he soon started receiving threats and began fearing for his family’s safety.