Independent journalist, Khaled Drareni, was arrested in Algiers on March 7, while covering a peaceful march. He appeared before the prosecutor and was charged and kept in detention. Today, he appeared before the court of Sid’Mhamed, where the judge kept him in detention and postponed his trial until the prosecutor provides enough documents to support the charges.
“We want to remind the authorities that journalism is not a crime and there is no freedom if journalistic rights are not guaranteed”, said Saloua Ghazouani, regional director of ARTICLE 19 MENA.
“We call on the Algerian authorities to immediately release Khaled Drareni and stop these arbitrary arrests and prosecutions.
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental liberty guaranteed by the Algerian constitution as well as by international treaties ratified by Algeria. Both the right to protest and the right of journalists to report on such events are essential to upholding this right.”
It has been reported that Drareni has been detained for taking part in the protests or encouraging them. He has denied both charges to the police, stating that he was covering the peaceful march as a journalist.
ARTICLE 19 joins other national associations, including the Algerian Human Rights League, the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees and the collective Algerian United Journalists (JAU), in calling for the release of journalists and activists who have been arbitrarily detained. The authorities must guarantee an independent justice system, which is essential to a real democracy.
For more information, contact Pam Cowburn, [email protected]