Amnesty International has asked Algeria to release imprisoned journalist Ihsane El Kadi immediately. The acclaimed journalist is accused of illegally taking money from people and organisations in exchange for carrying out acts that could threaten state security.
Amnesty claimed the accusations against the journalist were false accusations about b state security-related offences and criticised what it called a ruthless campaign to silence critics.
“El Kadi’s unjustified detention by the Algerian authorities is a grave injustice compounded by the violation of his fair trial rights. It is yet another example of their ruthless campaign to silence voices of dissent through arbitrary detention and the closure of media outlets,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“The fact that El Kadi’s pre-trial detention has been renewed without the presence of his defense team, and that the court did not inform them of the change in hearing date, is a blatant disregard for his right to a fair trial. The authorities must release him immediately and allow the reopening of his outlets without censorship of critical content.”
Plainclothes security officials arrested El Kadi shortly after midnight on 24 December at his home in Zemmouri, a coastal town 40 km east of Algiers, and later that day led him in handcuffs to the offices of his online media outlets Radio M and Maghreb Emergent. They ordered the staff to leave, seized computers and other materials and sealed the doors.
A court renewed his incarceration in pre-trial custody on Sunday. According to Amnesty, no lawyers from his defence team were present at the time to dispute the legality of his arrest.
“Algerian authorities have arbitrarily renewed the pretrial detention of prominent journalist Ihsane El Kadi on 15 January without the presence of his defence team, Amnesty International said today. El Kadi, who is accused of trumped-up state security related offences, must be released immediately and his two media outlets, sealed on 24 December, should be allowed to reopen”, the statement read.
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