Algerian Cartoonist Bags Three Year Jail Term for Facebook Post

An Algerian meme creator, Walid Kechida, has been jailed three years for critising authorities on Facebook.

Kechida, 25, has been in detention for eight months following his arrest in April 2020 for posting a satirical cartoon criticising the Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune on his Facebook page.

The page – Hirak Memes – is named after an anti-government movement that organised mass protests throughout 2019, which helped force the longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down.

Algerian authorities had in April said the cartoonist was arrested for bringing “contempt and offence” to President Tebboune and for “offending the precepts” of Islam in internet memes and other online posts.

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An official of a prisoners’ rights group – National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD) – confirmed Kechida’s jail term. He added that the cartoonist was always ordered to pay a fine.

The official said Kechida’s lawyers would appeal the sentence.

According to the CNLD, no fewer than 90 people, including activists, social media users and journalists, are currently in custody in connection with the country’s anti-government protest movement or individual liberties — mostly for dissenting social media posts.

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