Algeria jails journalist for ‘concealment of equipment’ during protests

ALGIERS (AFP) – An Algerian court last Sunday sentenced to eight months in jail a journalist who had provided images of months-long anti-government protests to foreign media, a prisoners’ support group and a non-governmental organisation said.

Correspondent for Lebanese TV channel Al-Mayadeen Sofiane Merakchi was accused of “concealment of equipment and providing images to foreign media without authorisation,” the Article 19 NGO said.

He was also accused of providing images of weekly Friday protests to Al-Jazeera and other foreign media organisations, the group added.

Merakchi was arrested in September 2019 and initially the state prosecutor had demanded he be sentenced to two years in jail.

But a court in Algiers handed him an eight-month sentence and the CNLD prisoners’ support group said Merakchi was now expected to be freed on May 26.

According to the CNLD he was the first Algerian journalist arrested after the protest movement first erupted in February against ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term in office.