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Algerian court jails journalist three years

Algerian anti-government activist Slimane Hamitouche outside the Sidi Mohamed tribunal in Algiers on 3 August, 2020 [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images]
Algerian anti-government activist Slimane Hamitouche outside the Sidi Mohamed tribunal in Algiers on 3 August, 2020 [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images]

An Algerian court on Monday sentenced a journalist and activist to three years in prison on charges of harming national unity, a rights group that defends detainees said.

The court in the capital, Algiers, also handed a four-month jail sentence to two other activists for the same charges, according to the National Committee for the Release of Detainees. Justice Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.

The sentences against journalist Khaled Drareni and activists Samir Benlarbi and Slimane Hamitouche are linked to protests that toppled President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last year.

The protests broke out in February 2019 to reject Bouteflika’s plan to seek a fifth term in power and demand the departure of the ruling elite.

The authorities banned the demonstrations earlier this year to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

READ: Algeria to impose ‘severe penalties’ for violence against doctors

Drareni has been in detention since late March, while Benlarbi and Hamitouche were released in July after being detained for more than two months.

The authorities, as part of appeasement measures, have released several protesters since the election of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune last December.

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