Algeria arrested three well known activists in the Hirak protest movement over the weekend, the vice president of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights has said.
Said Salhi revealed that Hakik Addad, Zoheir Keddam and Fodil Boumala were detained on Sunday. The reason for their arrest remains unknown.
"This will not contribute to calming the tension, but rather, on the contrary, as human rights activist, Hakim Adad is considered one of the most prominent figures of the protest movement, and one of the founders of Tajamou Amel El Djazair (Taj) that stands at the forefront of the suppressed movement," Salhi explained. He pointed out that "the journalist Fodil Boumala will appear in court tomorrow, Tuesday, on charges of endangering national unity," noting that "the authorities had arrested him previously on 18 September 2019, and he was imprisoned until he was acquitted in early March under a verdict issued in the first instance by a court in Algiers."
Salhi added that the third detainee, Zuheir Keddam, is a member of the "orange vests" movement, which includes volunteers who seek to prevent clashes between the police and demonstrators during the protests.
The National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD) stated: "Following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Algeria, more than 60 activists remained imprisoned, most of whom were arrested because of opinions they posted on Facebook." CNLD added that the authorities have not stopped pursuing the popular movement's activists, including oppositionists, journalists and bloggers.
Since mid-March, Algeria has banned all forms of gatherings, including political, religious, cultural and sports events, as part of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. However, this did not prevent activists from organizing sporadic marches in recent weeks, calling for an end to the prosecution of detained activists and their release.