Algeria whistle-blower jailed for a year

ALGIERS (AFP) – Algerian journalist and whistle-blower Noureddine Tounsi was sentenced on Wednesday to a year in prison, one of his lawyers said.

Detained since September, Tounsi reported on social media on alleged wrongdoings at the port of Oran, in the country’s northwest.

Tounsi “was sentenced to a year behind bars by the court” in Oran, Farid Khemisti wrote on Facebook.

Charges against him included “insulting the president of the republic” and “invasion of privacy”, local media reported, without specifying the allegations that led to the charges.

Since the start of the country’s pro-democracy Hirak protest movement in February 2019, several Algerian journalists have been tried or jailed as authorities have cracked down on dissent.

On Monday, a correspondent for French-language newspaper Liberte in Tamanrasset in Algeria’s far south Rabah Kareche was placed in provisional detention for allegedly spreading false information “harmful to public security”.

His detention came after he published an article on a Tuareg protest movement in the area.

Liberte slammed what it called “false accusations that thinly veil the desire to silence the journalist and prevent him from carrying out his work objectively”.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged the Algerian authorities to free Kareche and drop their investigation.

“Algerian authorities should not imprison journalists for reporting on minority communities,” said senior researcher Justin Shilad for the CPJ for the region.