Algeria: Journalist sentenced to three-year prison term for reporting on protests

A court in Algeria sentenced journalist Khaled Drareni to three years in prison on 10 August after he had reported on the anti-government demonstrations that swept the country in 2019. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns this outrageous sentence and urges the authorities to drop the charges against Drareni and release him immediately.

Protestors carry Drareni on their shoulders after he was briefly detained on 6 March. Credits: RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Drareni, a correspondent for the French-language channel TV5MONDE and editor of the online news website Casbah Tribune, was arrested on March 7, after covering the "Hirak" protest movement in Algeria. The IFJ has repeatedly condemned his arrest as a blatant attack on press freedom.

Drareni was convicted of "inciting an unarmed gathering" and "endangering national unity," despite the lack of evidence that he did anything except his job as a journalist.

His lawyer and president of the Algerian League for Human Rights Nouredine Benissad told AFP: "It's a very heavy verdict for Khaled Drareni. We are surprised, the case is hollow."

Two Hirak protestors were co-accused in the trail before the Sidi M'hamed court in Algiers. Samir Benlarbi and Slimane Hamitouche both received a two-year sentence.

In recent months, Algerian authorities have increased pressure on journalists, accusing them of acting against the national interest, creating tensions, and receiving support from "foreign parties".

In July, Ali Djamel Toubal, a correspondent for private media group Ennahar, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for reporting on anti-regime protests.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "Khaled Drareni is a free and independent journalist who did nothing more than his job. His conviction is unacceptable and a blatant attack on press freedom. We call for his immediate and unconditional release as well as of all the detained journalists in Algeria".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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