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Algerian journalist remanded in custody

A journalist for the French-speaking Algerian daily Freedom was imprisoned Tuesday evening for “belonging to a terrorist organization” and “spreading false information”, indicated an association of defense of the detainees and a lawyer. Mohamed Mouloudj was “placed under arrest warrant” by an investigating judge of the court of Sidi Mhamed, Algiers, according to the National Committee for the release of detainees (CNLD).

The journalist is being prosecuted for “undermining national unity, belonging to a terrorist organization and disseminating false information,” said lawyer Abdelghani Badi on Facebook. He was arrested on Sunday and his home searched, according to the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH). Six other people, arrested for the same case, were also placed in pre-trial detention after being heard by the examining magistrate, the CNLD said.

16 people arrested

On Monday evening, the gendarmerie announced the arrest of 16 suspected members of the Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK), a separatist group considered terrorist by the authorities. Among those arrested is a journalist whose identity has not been disclosed.

The arrests were made as part of the investigations into the forest fires that occurred in August in Kabylia and the lynching to death of Djamel Bensmail, wrongly suspected of pyromania in this northeastern region. Another Algerian journalist, Hassan Bouras, arrested on September 6, was formally placed in pre-trial detention on Sunday, in particular for “apologizing for terrorism”, according to his lawyers.

Algeria occupies 146th place out of 180 countries in the world press freedom ranking of the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF). According to the CNLD, around 200 people are in prison in connection with the pro-democracy protest movement Hirak, which has shaken the country sporadically since 2019.

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