deathly silence falls on the court of algiers as soon as the judge pronounced his verdict against the journalist Khaled Drareni, sentenced to three imprisonment on 10 August. Witnesses tell the atmosphere tense, the silence interspersed with crying in the ranks of the assistance. Outside, in front of the entrance of the court of Sidi Me hamed in Algiers-center, some activists shouted slogans and anti-authority so that, in the virtual world, on social networks, a number of journalists have denounced the verdict. "RIP, the justice of my country ! I wish I would have thee know dead than to see you as weak, cowardly, unworthy. This August 10, 2020, the algerian justice system has lost all honor. This August 10, 2020, a terrible earthquake of immorality has prompted the court of Sidi Me hamed " wrote the journalist and writer Mustapha Benfodil. Others just post " shame on you ", " shame on you ".
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" frivolous law suits ", according to the defense
Many seem to be shocked by the verdict. The lawyer for Abdelghani Badi, engaged in the defence of prisoners from hirak, written on his wall in Facebook : "These three years against the journalist Khaled Drareni are a way of stomping in a single movement, the justice, the press and the citizen, according to the good pleasure of the power. "The journalist, along with two activists, was accused of" inciting a crowd not armed and the damage to the integrity of national territory " and has been placed in pretrial detention on 29 march 2020. Noureddine Benissad, a member of the collective for defence and president of the algerian League for the defence of human rights (LADDH), stated the site TSA that " the prosecution were unfounded." "The concept of the gathering is put forward to not blame them the right to protest and the integrity of the national territory is a political offence, contrary to the constitutional principle of legality which is to define an offence in a specific way in order to avoid any interpretation of elastic and misuse," explains the lawyer. "For Drareni, it was not applied to the organic act on the information, because all the facts against him or her are governed by the latter, moreover, protects it and does not provide for any penal sanction. It has circumvented the act on the information to apply the penal Code. We will continue our advocacy until his release. "
Journalist " or "activist" ?
last may, the minister of Communications, Ammar Belhimer had commented on this case : "Regarding the journalist Khaled Drareni, corresponding to non-accredited foreign media and representative of fact, on the other hand, the NGO Reporters without borders, whose activity has no legal basis in our country, the answer to your question is a matter of the ministries of Interior and Justice. "The same minister was severely criticized by RSF, in April, accusing it of putting" in before three or four journalists in sight. Always the same, moreover, to better make martyrs of the freedom of information. Even though these journalists, in reality, activists, and professionals of subversion, are distinguished because of their attacks relentless against the symbols of the algerian State ".
a Few weeks ago, RSF had arrested the president Abdelmadjid Tebboune via a letter : "During his arrest on march 7, Khaled Drareni did not practice his profession as a journalist, covering a market as it has done since the outbreak of the demonstrations on February 22, 2019. Since that date he has been summoned numerous times and has been the victim of intimidation on the part of the security services that are designed to deter him from doing his work (...) We address you as the guarantor of the respect and the implementation of the Constitution and international obligations of your country. We call on you to intervene immediately to put an end to prosecutions, abusive, prejudicial to the freedom of the press. "
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A "very bad signal"
For the president of the RCD (Rally for culture and democracy), Mohcine Belabbas, " since the beginning of the containment following the pandemic of the Covid-19, we are witnessing a hardening of the political repression in the objective of depoliticising any act, speech, or movement challenging the power of fact and the system in place ". No other political party does is for the time being expressed. Reacting to the sentence, the editorialist Said Djaffar writing within 24 Hours Algeria : "This verdict, if it is not retoqué appeal, is a signal, very dangerous, to turn in an authoritarian regime and a sign of mistrust of a society that has expressed, in diversity, a powerful call for peaceful change for the establishment of a State of law and a renewal of the national project. The verdict against Khaled Drareni is, in addition to being profoundly unjust, a very bad signal sent to the country. If there is still a little reason that has not yet been smothered by the impulses that are safe and totalitarian, and it should be abolished and quickly. "