The Algerian government continues the assault on freedom of expression
In September 2023, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association visited Algeria in the context of ongoing legislative reforms to align national legislation with the 2020 Constitution. In a statement, the Special Rapporteur noted “cases of associations working on human rights and governance issues that have recently been dissolved, based on the overly restrictive Law 12-06.” In addition, the statement urged the government to “open civic space to build trust, and engage with civil society in all its diversity as partners in building the new Algeria.”
@CIHRS_Alerts supports the UN Special Rapporteur @cvoule's recommendations following his recent visit to #Algeria including the release of +200 people detained over participating in the #Hirak and guaranteeing freedom of #PeacefulAssembly and #Association pic.twitter.com/5IkTiXiv0x— CIHRS (@CIHRS_Alerts) September 28, 2023
The Algerian government continues the assault on freedom of expression. As reported previously by the Monitor, journalist el-Kadi was detained in December 2022. On 2nd April 2023, the tribunal of Sidi M'hamed in Algiers convicted El Kadi to five years in prison, of which two were suspended, a fine of 700,000 Algerian dinars (around USD 5,150) and ordered the dissolution of his media company. El-Kadi appealed the decision, and on 18th June, the Algiers Court of Appeal confirmed his conviction and increased his sentence from five to seven years, two of which are suspended. El Kadi was convicted on charges of receiving funds “that could harm the security of the state” and receiving foreign funds “for political propaganda.”
CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator stated:
Algerian authorities’ decision to increase journalist Ihsane el-Kadi’s prison sentence on appeal is a slap in the face to those seeking justice within the country’s legal system -
Algeria has doubled the jail term for a prominent independent journalist, from three years to seven.— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) June 19, 2023
Ihsane el-Kadi was sentenced on charges of receiving foreign financing for the independent media group he owns. https://t.co/jMzYZQMnun pic.twitter.com/peCee9D6QV
In a separate incident, journalist and editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Le Provincial Mustapha Bendjama was arrested on 8th February 2023 and charged with “criminal organisation to commit the crime of illegal immigration” and “smuggling of migrants within the framework of an organised criminal gang” in connection with the Amira Bouraoui case.
On 29th August the Constantine Court sentenced him to 2 years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to 8 months of prison and 1 year of probation.
According to Amnesty International, at least five journalists have been prosecuted so far in 2023.
In June 2022, the administrative court of Algiers dissolved the Algerian League for the Defense of Human (LADDH), following a complaint filed by the Interior Ministry. The organisation said it only learned of the decision in January 2023. The dissolution of the League was based on “several branches claiming its name and legal legitimacy” in breach of Article 48 of Law 90-31 on Associations.
Shameful. Algerian authorities should immediately reverse the decision to dissolve the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights, the oldest independent human rights organization in Algeria.https://t.co/75tPoPSFsE pic.twitter.com/liW8Sz0rt4— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) February 8, 2023