Report: Algiers prosecutor calls TV exec's arrest baseless

An Algerian media executive who was detained Thursday and released hours later said he was arrested because he publicly denounced political corruption but won't stop speaking out against fraud at the top level of the political hierarchy.

"What happened to me is deplorable," Ali Fodhil, who heads the media company Echourouk, said during a news conference after he was freed from custody.

The Algiers prosecutor said Fodhil was let go because there was nothing to justify his arrest by a service of the judicial police, online news site TSA Algerie reported.

The site quoted a statement from the prosecutor saying the arrest was improper without a prosecutor's order and an investigation would be opened.

The episode reflects the murky climate in Algeria amid an unprecedented political crisis over protesters demands that ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, step down after 20 years in power along with his loyal entourage.

The arrest came as protesters prepare for nationwide marches Friday in what will be the sixth consecutive week of anti-government demonstrations. Official corruption has been one focus of the protests.

Echourouk TV had said Fodhil was "kidnapped" by security forces outside his home as he left for work. He was released in mid-afternoon.

The TV station had tied the episode to Fodhil's allegation this week that "extraconstitutional forces" run Algeria and the president's younger brother, Said Bouteflika, was "head of the gang."

Corruption has long been considered widespread in the North African country, but the president's critics allege it has grown during Bouteflika's two decades in power.

It's among the chief complaints of protesters who have been demanding that Bouteflika step down and the regime that has profited from his presidency be ousted, too.