Algerian authorities should drop charges of incitement against Khaled Drareni and ensure his unconditional release.
Algerian journalist, Khaled Drareni, editor of the the Casbah Tribune News website, and an advocate of press freedom in the country is being accused of “inciting an unarmed gathering” and undermining the nation’s “territorial integrity”,
The 40 year old correspondent with the French-language television channel, TV5Monde, was arrested on March 27 while covering an anti-government protest.
His arrest sparked off local and international criticism, friends and colleagues of Drareni also expressed their displeasure via social media platforms, with the campaign hash tag #Freekhaleddrareni.
“Crime against Humanity against journalist Khaled Drareni, held in pre-trial detention for months in #Algeria and looking starved near to death, completely emaciated. Journalism is not a crime”, reads a tweet.
Reports say the prosecution is calling for a four-year prison term.
According to news reports, Drareni along two others – Slimane Hamitouche and Samir Benlarbi were detained by the police while participating at a demonstration in Algiers. Three days later they were brought before the state prosecutor. Drareni was placed under judicial review, while a detention warrant was issued for his two colleagues.
“Drareni was arrested on March 27 at his house in Algiers and was held in a police station for two nights. On March 29, the Sidi M’Hamed criminal court in Algiers ordered Drareni’s detention in el-Harach prison in Algiers, and on March 30 the court moved him to Kolea prison outside of the capital, where he has been in detention” says report.
As verdict is expected on Monday, August 10, it is noteworthy that the charges against Drareni are unlinked to his journalistic work, however, it is obvious that Algerian authority is indicting him as part plans to muzzle free press in the country.
AMDF demands that Algerian authorities drop all charges against Khaled Drareni, and journalists should be allowed to carry out their duty without fear of intimidation and harassment by authorities.