Algeria: journalist sentenced to one year in prison, six months closed

“The journalist and correspondent of Freedom in Tamanrasset, Rabah Karèche, was sentenced, this Monday, October 11, by the Court of Tamanrasset, to one year in prison including six months suspended, we learned from the defense of our colleague. Rabah Karèche will have to leave prison within a week, after having served his sentence “, announces the daily Freedom. Algerian journalist Rabah Karèche, imprisoned since mid-April, was sentenced for broadcasting “fake news”, his lawyer told AFP. Rabah Kareche “will be released in five days”, date on which he will have served his entire sentence, taking into account his pre-trial detention for the duration of the trial, said the lawyer.

“We are shocked by this verdict. He did nothing. He simply recounted the facts. It is a decision which cannot be explained judicially.”

Zoubida Assoul, lawyer

to AFP

“Attack on security and national unity”

During his appeal trial on October 4 before the court of Tamanrasset (south), the prosecution requested 18 months in prison against the journalist of the daily Freedom. Rabah Karèche was prosecuted in particular for “deliberate dissemination of false information liable to undermine public order”. He is also accused of “creation of an electronic account devoted to the dissemination of information liable to provoke segregation and hatred in society” and for carrying “threat to security and national unity”. At first instance, the journalist was sentenced on August 12 to one year in prison, including eight months closed, by the Tamanrasset court.

Rabah Karèche was indicted and imprisoned on April 19 after having published, in his newspaper and on his Facebook page, the report of a protest movement of the Tuaregs, a local Berber minority.

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Freedom of press

Several Algerian journalists are currently in detention, including Mohamed Mouloudj, also everyday Freedom, indicted and imprisoned in mid-September for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “dissemination of false information”.

“The decline in press freedom in my country is something that shocks and saddens me”

Zoubida Assoul, lawyer

to AFP

Algeria occupies the 146th place out of 180 countries in the world press freedom ranking of the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The country has tumbled 27 places since 2015.

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