August 11, 2022

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Amnesty calls on Algeria to immediately release Hirak prisoners

Amnesty International said in a statement that these prisoners have criticized the authorities, denounced government corruption or expressed their solidarity with those in detention.

The same source reported that in May 2022, local observers reported that at least 266 activists and protesters were languishing in Algerian prisons for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. against these persons without delay.

“The unjust imprisonment of activists and protesters must end,” said Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, “It is shameful that the Algerian authorities continue to use highly repressive and vaguely worded laws to prosecute people. Their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are being violated.” Using

Many protesters have been held in pre-trial detention for long periods, while others have been sentenced to up to five years in prison. Attack on state security, attack on national unity, “insult” of representative of public authority, “incitement to unarmed assembly”, spreading misinformation and terrorism.

According to Guellali, “sixty years after Algeria’s independence, fundamental freedoms and human rights continue to be ignored, violated or seriously restricted”.

On April 24, 2022, he recalled the death of Hakim Debassi, a prisoner linked to Hirak, under unclear circumstances, Amnesty recalled, noting that Debassi had been in pre-trial detention since February 2022. The Facebook page called for a demonstration to mark the third anniversary of the Hirak movement.

He was prosecuted for “inciting an unarmed assembly”, “insulting public authorities” and publishing content “harmful to the national interest”, the organization added, noting that the court had rejected a temporary release request filed by his lawyers. Explanation of this denial.

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Of all the cases documented by Amnesty International, at least four prisoners faced additional trials for crimes related to online or offline criticism of the state while already in prison.

In 2020, after the Hirak movement was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Algerian authorities have stepped up sanctions against peaceful protests, Amnesty International has condemned, noting that the increased repression of people critical of the government is not limited to Algerians inside the country. , but have also targeted many people living or seeking asylum abroad.

At least two asylum seekers were deported for alleged links to unauthorized organizations, while at least three dual nationals living in Canada were arbitrarily arrested or tried upon arrival in Algeria. The same source is angry.