Islamist on the loose
The week's news at a glance.
Ali Belhadj, the former No. 2 official of the militant Islamic Salvation Front, was released from an Algerian prison this week as part of a general amnesty. Belhadj was jailed last year on what many Algerians considered flimsy charges after he went on Al-Jazeera and praised the Iraqi insurgency. He had already served 12 years in prison for helping to lead a grisly uprising in 1992 that killed some 150,000 people. The Salvation Front led the revolt after its win in the first round of Algerias first multiparty elections prompted the army to cancel the second round. Hundreds of cheering supporters surrounded Belhadj as he left prison this week. The Algerian daily Liberté said the Islamic extremists consider his release a great political victory.