Algeria recalls ambassador to Paris over activist's flight
TUNIS (Reuters) - Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris on Wednesday, accusing France of orchestrating the escape of an activist it wants for arrest and triggering a new crisis between the countries after months of increasingly warm relations.
Amira Bouraoui, a rights activist detained during the 2019 mass protests in Algeria and freed from prison in 2020, had allegedly crossed into Tunisia illegally after evading Algerian judicial surveillance, according to Algerian and French media.
She was arrested in Tunisia this week and faced an extradition hearing, but the judge ordered her to be freed and she was allowed to leave the country on Monday.
French media has reported that her release and flight to France resulted from French diplomatic pressure on Tunisia.
On Tuesday Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi without giving a reason.
France's Foreign Ministry declined to comment. A spokesperson for Tunisia's government was not immediately available to comment.
Algeria's Foreign Ministry accused Paris of "violation of national sovereignty by French diplomatic, consular and security personnel who participated in the illegal and secret evacuation of an Algerian national".
It added in a statement that the development is "unacceptable and harms Algerian-French relations".
French President Emmanuel Macron visited Algeria last year, warmly embracing President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on a trip that seemed to turn a page on years of difficult ties.
Algeria's powerful military chief Said Chengriha recently spent three days in Paris to discuss military issues including the Sahel and met Macron. Tebboune was due to visit Paris later this year.
The case meanwhile threatens to complicate ties between Algeria and Tunisia, which had also strengthened after Tunisia's Saied seized most powers by shutting down the parliament in 2021.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara in Tunis, Lamine Chikhi in Algiers and John Irish in Paris; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Alex Richardson and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)