Algerian minister rules out return to politics by banned Islamist leaders

The Algerian interior minister on Tuesday ruled out any possible return to national politics by the former leaders of a militant group that played a major role in the country's bloody insurgency. The government's Charter for Peace and Reconciliation, a voter-approved effort to come to terms with the insurgency of the 1990s, would not allow for such a return, Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said. "The law on the national reconciliation and that political parties are very clear" on the matter, he said, adding the Charter's Article 26 bans from politics those who use religion as a political tool. Zerhouni was speaking in response to recent Algerian media reports suggesting a former leader of the militant Islamic Salvation Army, or AIS, was forming an Islamist political party.