Free Speech in the Algerian Press
Freelance journalist and a symbol of free speech in Algeria, Khaled Dareni, has been sentenced to three years in prison based on accusations of undermining the integrity of the national territory.
Three years behind bars for, Khaled Dareni, an Algerian freelance journalist and local correspondent for French media channels TV5 Monde and Reporters Without Borders (RWB). He has been condemned for "inciting an unarmed gathering" and "undermining the integrity of the national territory" after his media coverage of the Hirak movement on March 7th.
His sentencing only reinforces his image amongst the Algerian public as Dareni, 40 years old age, has become a symbol for the fight for freedom of speech in the press in the country.
"This is a very heavy verdict for Khaled Drareni. Three years in prison. We are surprised. The file is empty," said the lawyer, who is also president of the Algerian League for Human Rights (LADH).
Time in Jail and a Heavy Fine
At the start of August, the Algerian prosecutor's office had asked for four years in prison for Drareni and his two co-defendants - two Hirak figures, Samir Benlarbi and Slimane Hamitouche. The prosecutor of the Sidi M'hamed court had also demanded a heavy fine against the three defendants, as well as the deprivation of their civil rights.
This conviction is "clearly a case of judicial persecution," RWB's Secretary-General Christophe Deloire was castigated.