An Algerian government plane that transported the country’s ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to Switzerland for treatment two weeks ago returned to Geneva Sunday, according to an AFP photographer who saw the plane land.
The Algerian government did not immediately announce the purpose of the flight but it was possible that the plane was coming to repatriate the 82-year-old leader, who has been receiving medical treatment at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG).
Bouteflika, in power since 1999, has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.
His bid to secure a fifth term at Algeria’s April 18 election has sparked massive protests in the country, dominated by youth who have called for the president to stand aside.
Bouteflika’s office has insisted that the president went to Switzerland for routine medical checkups but there is much speculation that his health condition is far more serious.
On Saturday, a lawyer acting on behalf of an unnamed Algerian citizen filed a petition with a Swiss court requesting that Bouteflika be placed under a trusteeship for his own protection, alleging that his “fragile health” left him vulnerable to “exploitation” by those around him.