Algeria: dissident journalist gets three years in prison

Drareni

An Algerian court on Aug. 10¬†sentenced journalist Khaled Drareni to three years in prison for speaking out against the government. Drareni, who is well known in Algeria and has a twitter account of roughly 150,000 followers, is editor of Casbah Tribune news website and correspondent for international¬†TV5 Monde and media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He reported widely on the Hirak protest movement against the rule of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. At trial, prosecutors used as evidence a Facebook post Drareni shared, calling for a general strike. The court found him guilty of “endangering¬†national unity”¬†and “inciting”¬†unlawful¬†gatherings.

Drareni has been detained since March. His attorneys issued a statement declaring, “All he did was give information, in words and images. He did nothing more than his work as a journalist.”

A 2016 Freedom House report designates Algeria’s press status as “not free.”¬†Although the Algerian constitution guarantees the right of freedom of expression, the government operates state-run television, controls newspapers, and closely oversees online communication.

RSF¬†spoke out¬†against Drareni’s sentencing and stated that he should be released.

From Jurist, Aug. 10. Used with permission.

Note: The¬†Hirak¬†or “people’s mobilization” last year finally ousted long-ruling president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, but has rejected the special election that brought¬†Tebboune to power as controlled, with its outcome pre-determined by the regime.

Image: RSF