Algeria: journalist sentenced to two years in prison

A journalist was sentenced in Algeria to two years in prison in a court in Tébessa (northeast) which also ordered the suspension of his employment contract in a radio station, for publications on Facebook, an Algerian NGO said on Sunday.

The judgment is the latest in a series of harsh sentences targeting journalists in the North African country, despite international criticism.

“Adel Sayad was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison with an arrest warrant” by the court which also ordered the suspension of his employment contract at “the local radio station in Tebessa where he worked for 26 years”, the National Committee for the Release of Prisoners (CNLD) said on its Facebook account.

The journalist, who was not present at the hearing for an unspecified reason, reacted with humor, without specifying the nature of the Facebook posts for which he was convicted.

“I never imagined this glory in the new Algeria: two years in prison with an arrest warrant and another order to suspend my work at the radio where I spent 26 years”, wrote in French Adel Sayad on his Facebook account.

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“What good news on the eve of Eid Al-Adha (the most important of the Muslim holidays, editor’s note). Thank you Mr. Abdelmajid Tebboune for this great achievement ”, he added, quoting the Algerian president.

Contacted by AFP, the journalist and the radio station that employs him did not respond immediately.

Algeria is in 146th place (out of 180) in the 2021 global press freedom ranking established by the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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On Wednesday, President Tebboune pardoned 101 detainees held for calling or taking part in protests as part of the Hirak protest movement.

Previously, more than 200 people were imprisoned in Algeria for acts related to Hirak and / or individual freedoms, according to the CNLD.

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