Algerian trial calls former PM

(First Edition)

ALGIERS (AP) - Algeria's former leader told a military court yesterday that the decision to use force against fundamentalists in 1991 was 'taken at the highest level'. But Mouloud Hamrouche, the former prime minister, declined to implicate Chadli Benjedid, then president, the state-run news agency APS reported.

All the defendants have refused to attend the trial since it reconvened Sunday, while the prosecutor continued to refuse access to the international press and human rights observers. The trial opens again today to allow the former Premier, Sid Ahmed Ghozali, who resigned last week, and two former government officials to testify. The defence hopes their testimony will support its claim that the government, not the leaders of the Islamic Salvation Front, was responsible for the violence after protests in mid-1991, when at least 55 people died.

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