On October 20, multiple journalists were handed prison sentences as Algeria continues to crack down on press freedom, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Freelance journalist, Saad Bouakba was convicted of inciting hatred, discrimination and of publishing material detriment to national interest in the Dar el-Beida court in Algerian capital, Algiers.
At the same hearing Zoubir Fadel, Salim Salhi, and Adel Lazizi faced the full force of the law, receiving a severe fine and/or prison sentence.
Boukakba and Fadel were handed a one-year prison sentence as well as a costly fine of 200,000 Algerian Dinars (1,366 Euros approximately) whilst London-based Salhi and Lazizi, who were not present at the hearing in the Algerian capital, were given a three-year sentence by the court.
All those convicted appealed their verdicts.
Adel Lazizi and Salim Salhi are managers at El-Khabar, a popular left-wing Algerian newspaper that publishes articles in French and Arabic.
The UK-based journalists were arrested for publishing an article critical of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on El-Madar TV in February.
Bouakba wrote the article in question, criticising the President’s livestock project in Djelfa which was then published on the news outlet’s website on February 2.
Fadel, a reporter for El-Khabar, republished the article on the site which also leaves him in hot water.
As Algeria ramps up its opposition to dissenting voices, Algerian-born journalist Raouf Farrah was arrested in August.
Trialed in the city of Constantine, Farrah, who lived in Canada before his legal woes, was given a two-year jail sentence on charges of publishing sensitive state information and of receiving funds from foreign powers for the purposes of bringing state security into disrepute.
Following his arrest, Eric Goldstein the deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch said that “There is no doubt that the charges against Farrah are political.”
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) that extensively researches human rights abuses.
Amnesty International have repeatedly highlighted breaches of democratic norms in these countries over the past few years.
Committee to Protect Journalists