Algeria accuses France of holding diplomat hostage

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ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- Algeria's foreign minister has accused France of unfairly holding a senior Algerian diplomat "hostage" as part of a probe into a 1987 murder.

Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci says diplomat Ziane Hasseni has been mistaken for someone else.

Medelci told reporters in Algiers on Wednesday that France is holding Hasseni "hostage ... under the pretext that he is something he is not."

Hasseni, protocol chief for the Algerian Foreign Ministry, was arrested in August in Marseille. He is now free but barred from leaving France.

The arrest strained relations between Algeria and former colonial ruler France.

French investigators accuse Hasseni of complicity in the murder of Algerian opposition figure Ali Mecili in Paris in 1987.

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