A French-Algerian activist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaving Algeria without the permission of the authorities, reports The New Arab and agencies.
Amira Bouraoui who fled to France through Tunisia in February, was sentenced in absentia for an “illegal exit from the territory”, one of the defence lawyers told Algerian media.
A journalist who helped her was also given a six month prison sentence along with her mother who was handed down a suspended sentence in her role in smuggling her across the border with Tunisia.
Bouraoui emerged as a political activist around 2010 with the Barakat Movement that opposed ex-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s campaign for a fourth consecutive term.
It’s also reported that she also took part in the 2019 Hirak mass protests that ousted the former dictator Bouteflika.
Algiers deemed her flight to France an “illegal exfiltration”, resulting with relations between France and Algeria plummeting to a new low.
Bouraoui, a gynaecologist by training, was the host of a talk show on Radio M, an Algerian independent radio station whose editor, on charges of threatening national security, reported by Maghrebi.org.
According to the New Arab, El Kadi also heads the news website Maghreb Emergent and is serving a seven-year prison sentence for “foreign financing of his company”. His lawyers have described him as “a prisoner of conscience”.
Journalist Mustapha Bendjama, who was accused of helping her escape, was also sentenced to six months in prison – time he had already served, following his arrest in February and calls from rights groups for his release.
Bendjama was due to be released after having already served nine months of “arbitrary detention”, said Khaled Drareni, the North Africa representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
But Drareni later posted that there was “great uncertainty” surrounding his release.
The prosecution had requested 10 years in prison for Bouraoui and three years for Bendjama.