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Algeria: Press owner Ihsane El Kadi sentenced to six months in prison

Algeria: Press owner Ihsane El Kadi sentenced to six months in prison
FILE- This picture taken on June 10, 2019 shows a view outside the Sidi M'Hamed Courthouse...   -  
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RYAD KRAMDI/AFP or licensors

Press freedom

The director of the Algerian radio station Radio M and of the news website Maghreb Emergent, Ihsane El Kadi, who was prosecuted for a press article, has been sentenced to six months in prison.

In addition, he has been slapped with a fine of 50,000 dinars (322 euros), according to Said Salhi, vice-president of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH).

Salhi said the verdict was not accompanied by a detention order and that El Kadi remains free.

Mr El Kadi confirmed the sentence on Twitter, regretting that he had been sentenced "for an analytical article based on a complaint by the Minister of Communication, Amar Belhimer, on charges for which he has no standing as a complainant".

"Feeling of anger and sadness. Forced to appeal," he added.

The article was about the Islamist movement Rachad and the pro-democracy Hirak protests.

Based abroad, the Rachad movement has been classified as a terrorist organisation since May 2021 by the Algerian authorities.

According to local media, Mr El Kadi was accused of "disseminating false information likely to undermine national unity", and "reopening the file on the national tragedy" of the 1990s.

The latter charge is punishable by up to five years in prison under the "Charter for Peace and Reconciliation", which is supposed to turn the page on the civil war of the "black decade" (1992-2002).