Panafrican News Agency

Rights group slams jail term for Algerian journalist for coverage of protest movement as 'mockery of justice'

Algiers, Algeria (PANA) - Human rights advocate, Amnesty International, has denounced as "a mockery of justice" the appeal court in Algiers' two year sentence in prison of journalist Khaled Drareni on Tuesday over his coverage of the Hirak protest movement.

It noted that two activists, Samir Benlarbi and Slimane Hamitouche, were each sentenced to a year in prison, eight months of which were suspended, in the same sham trial. The two were released after spending their time in jail. 

A first instance court had sentenced Drareni, on 10 August, to three years in prison, Amnesty International said in a statement on Tuesday.

Amna Guellali, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said: “Today’s prison sentence for prominent journalist Khaled Drareni is a mockery of justice in a country supposedly undergoing political change and transformation following mass protests."

Guellali said these harsh sentences underline the broader crackdown on freedoms in the country, and confirm an alarming pattern of prosecutions targeting journalists and activists who called for more democracy and respect for the rule of law in Algeria.

“The Algerian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Khaled Drareni and others who are being detained for daring to document police violence and arbitrary arrests during protests. It is crucial for the future of human rights in Algeria that they are set free,” the statement added.

-0- PANA MA 16Sept2020