Algeria: Two journalists arrested two days before the legislative elections

Late on 10 June, two journalists Khaled Drareni and Ihsan El Kadi were arrested by the authorities in Algeria along with opposition leader Karim Tabbou. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the Algerian authorities to free them immediately and to release all the journalists who are currently in prison for simply doing their job.

Khaled Drareni, Algerian journalist. Credits: RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

The arrests took place only a few days before  the snap legislative elections of 12 June, called by the government but rejected by part of the opposition and the Hirak protest movement.

Amid on-going protests against the forthcoming elections, the government is cracking down on protesters, multiplying arrests and passing of legislation against freedom of expression and demonstration.

All three individuals arrested on 10 June have been  targeted before by the regime. Ihsane El Kadi, journalist and director of Radio M and the Maghreb Emergent media, has been under judicial supervision since 18 May, accused of undermining national unity and disrupting the elections.

Freelance journalist Khaled Drareni, for his part, has been regularly targeted by the Algerian authorities for his work. He was released on 25 February after spending several months in prison for "inciting an unarmed gathering” and “endangering national territory."

Karim Tabbou, a figure of the Hirak, has been arrested several times for "undermining national unity" or "inciting violence".

According to the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (or CNLD), more than 220 people are currently in prison in connection with the protests. On 19 April, journalist Rabah Karèche was imprisoned for covering a demonstration and has not been released since.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The Algerian authorities must stop the crackdown on media at such a critical moment for the country. We call for the immediate release of all imprisoned media workers and urge the Algerian government to respect the right of journalists to report independently ahead, during and after the legislative elections.”