Longtime Algerian opposition figure Ait-Ahmed dies: party

Hocine Ait Ahmed, pictured October 31, 2004, was the last of the nine so-called "sons of Toussaint", who launched the Algerian uprising in November 1954 (AFP Photo/Hocine Zaourar)

Algiers (AFP) - Hocine Ait-Ahmed, one of the fathers of Algeria's struggle for independence from France and then a longtime opposition figure, died in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday, his Socialist Forces Front party said.

Ait-Ahmed, 89, was the last of the nine so-called "sons of Toussaint", who launched the uprising in November 1954.

He died in hospital after a long illness, said the party known by its acronym FFS, without elaborating.

Ait-Ahmed, who was jailed by the French in 1956, was freed after a ceasefire in 1962. He went into opposition when Ahmed Ben Bella became president, and had been an opposition figure ever since.

He was arrested in 1964 and condemned to death but freed, and left the country for exile in Lausanne in 1966.

He returned to Algeria in 1989 after the FFS was legalised, but then again went abroad temporarily three years later.

He stood as a candidate in the 1999 presidential election, but he and five others pulled out mid-campaign arguing that the vote was rigged in favour of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who continues as president to this day.

His health began failing in 2012, and he resigned the following year as head of the FFS.