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Algeria: authorities arrest opposition leader

Algerian police in Algiers, Algeria, on 26 February 2019 [Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency]
Algerian police in Algiers, Algeria, on 26 February 2019 [Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency]

The Algerian authorities have arrested the coordinator of a left-wing opposition party and put him in pre-trial detention on charges that include insulting President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Fethi Ghares of the Democratic and Social Movement (MDS) was taken from his home on Wednesday night, according to a Facebook post by his wife Messaouda Cheballah.

The charges against Ghares include "publishing information that could undermine national unity" and "public order", as well as insulting a state institution and the president. "Political activism is not a crime," Cheballah pointed out in response.

Ghares is a member of the Hirak movement, a pro-democracy protest movement formed in 2019 in response to a statement by long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in which he announced his candidacy for a fifth term in office. Subsequent and sustained mass protests resulted in Bouteflika's resignation after nearly 20 years in office.

READ: Algeria: largest Islamic party refuses to join new government

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