Saadi Yacef

Saadi Yacef (born January 20, 1928) is one of the former leaders of Algeria's National Liberation Front during his country's war of independence. He is currently a Senator in Algeria's Council of the Nation.

Saâdi Yacef
Saadi Yacef 1966.jpg
Saadi Yacef at the 1966 Venice Film Festival
Saâdi Yacef

(1928-01-20) January 20, 1928 (age 92)
Algiers, Algeria
Other namesSi Djâffer, Réda Lee
OrganizationArmée de libération nationale (ALN)
Known forBattle of Algiers
Notable work
The Battle of Algiers
MovementFront de libération nationale (FLN)
Spouse(s)Djamila Boupacha (19??–)
Military career
AllegianceFlag of Algeria.svg Algeria
Years of service1945–1962
RankFLN military chief of the Zone Autonome d'Alger
Battles/warsBattle of Algiers
Other workAuthor, Film Producer, Actor, Baker, Politician

Yacef was born in Algiers. The son of parents from the Algerian region of Kabylie, he started his working life as an apprentice baker. In 1945, he joined the Parti du Peuple Algérien, a nationalist party which the French authorities soon outlawed, after which it was reconstituted as the Mouvement pour le Triomphe des Libertes Democratiques (MTLD). From 1947 to 1949, Yacef served in the MTLD's paramilitary wing, the Organisation Secrete. After the OS was broken up, Yacef moved to France and lived there until 1952, when he returned to Algeria to work again as a baker.

Yacef joined the FLN at the start of the Algerian War in 1954. By May 1956, he was the FLN's military chief of the Zone Autonome d'Alger (Autonomous Zone of Algiers), making him one of the leaders on the Algerian side in the Battle of Algiers. He was captured by French troops on September 24, 1957 and eventually sentenced to death. General Paul Aussaresses later asserted that while in custody, Yacef betrayed the FLN and the Algerian cause by providing the French army with the location of Ali la Pointe, another leading FLN commander.[1] Yacef has denied it, and historian Darius Rejali considers the accusation as highly suspect.[2] He was ultimately pardoned by the French government after Charles de Gaulle's 1958 return to power.

Yacef claims to have written his memoirs of the battle in prison although he was illiterate. The writings were published in 1962 as Souvenirs de la Bataille d'Alger. After the Algerian War, Yacef helped produce Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo's film The Battle of Algiers (1966), based on Souvenirs de la Bataille d'Alger. Yacef played a character modeled on his own experiences in the battle.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Aussaresses, Paul (2005). The Battle of the Casbah: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Algeria 1955–1957. New York, Enigma Books. p. 162. ISBN 1929631308.
  2. ^ Rejali, Darius M. (2007). Torture and democracy. Princeton University Press. p. 490. ISBN 0691143331.