Human Rights Defenders Decry Mounting Repression in Algeria

Human Rights Defenders Decry Mounting Repression in Algeria (News Central TV)

Algerian authorities have ramped up their assault on civil society in recent weeks, with 27 human rights defenders and peaceful activists arrested in February alone, Amnesty International said today.

On February 20, a court in the western city of Tlemcen sentenced Faleh Hammoudi, head of the local chapter of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH), to three years in prison and a fine of 100000 dinars (705LADDH). Days later, on February 24, an investigative judge in Algiers ordered the pretrial detention of Zaki Hannache, an activist known for his work monitoring the government crackdown on the Hirak, a mass protest movement calling for political change in the country since 2019.

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The Algerian authorities initially tolerated some protests and limited prosecutions to targeting those carrying the Amazigh flag during demonstrations; however, they have sought to suppress Hirak protests since 2021, have arrested hundreds of activists, human rights defenders and journalists, held them in pretrial detention or sentenced them under vaguely worded charges, including terrorism.

There are currently at least 290 people languishing in Algerian jails simply for peacefully expressing their opinions, according to both the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees, a national watchdog group, and the LADDH.

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