Civil society condemns the new wave of repression in Algeria
The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (WTO) have condemned the repression suffered by the Algerian protest movement “Hirak” and by human rights activists in Algeria by local authorities.The organizations jointly published, from their observatory for the protection of human rights, a study on the repression of activists in Algeria between 22 February and May 5.
The report provides an accurate timeline of the attacks on human rights defenders in the North African country, more than a year after the start of the popular Hirak movement and amid the current coronavirus pandemic. According to Worldometer, Algeria has recorded 6442 COVID-19 positive cases and 529 deaths so far, while the people recovered are 3158.
According to the report, the repression put in place by the government very often materializes with acts of harassment, even at the judicial level, with arbitrary arrests and unjustified detentions of detainees of the Algerian movement Hirak.The presidential elections of 13 December, won by the already Minister AbdelmadjidTebboune, supported by the army, did not silence the protests. Thousands of people on Hirak’s initiative demonstrated since February 2019 against the candidacy for the fifth time of the elderly and sick President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, died in April 2019.
After he won the elections, Tebboune attempted a social pacification. He released many opponents and the judiciary abandoned any proceedings initiated against the demonstrators. The Algerian authorities have also started to investigate for corruption members of the cast who had enriched themselves in previous years.In the early months of 2020, protests eased with the restrictive measures adopted by the Algerian government in response to COVID-19, such as the nightly curfew. However, many have seen the limitation of personal freedoms to protect public health as a tool to control opponents.
A series of decisions made recently by the government confirmed this sentiment. A semi-empty Parliament passed a law to punish the publication and dissemination of false news that can endanger public order. The opposition considers the decree to be yet another attempt to gag the protesters.Local activists reported a resumption of repression against Hirak’s representatives and also against those who criticize the government.
Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni was arrested on March 7, released, and immediately detained again for spreading images and evidence of the demonstrations. The journalist still in custody on charges of inciting an unauthorized protest, as well for attack the integrity of the State. Now he faces up to ten years in prison.Amnesty International organized a real political and international press mobilization, demanding his immediate release.