The Tamanrasset court (1,929 km south of Algiers) on Thursday sentenced journalist Rabah Kareche to 12 months in prison, including 8 months closed, for articles on demonstrations in the south of the country, according to lawyer Me Aicha Mebarek.
During his trial, which was held on August 5, the representative of the public prosecutor’s office requested a heavy sentence of three years in prison against the correspondent of the daily “Liberté” in Tamanrasset.
He was prosecuted for “creation of an electronic account devoted to the dissemination of information liable to provoke segregation and hatred in society”, “deliberate dissemination of false information liable to undermine public order” and “use various means to undermine national security and unity, ”said the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD).
He was placed under arrest warrant on April 19 after the publication of a series of articles in his newspaper in which he reported on the situation in the region, marked by a citizen protest movement against a new division.
According to his lawyers, quoted by local media, there is nothing in the file that can justify the charges against him. For them, Karèche is imprisoned for his activities related to his profession as a journalist.
In statements to the press, Me Mostefa Bouchachi explained that in his incriminated articles, “there is no incitement to hatred and discrimination nor to national unity. There is also no false information ”.
He specified that on the contrary, he reported faithfully and with professionalism the facts which had taken place and consisting of a protest by the citizens of certain communes of Tamanrasset against the administrative division of March 29.
“There is nothing in the file other than the three articles, so he is being prosecuted in his capacity as a journalist,” he noted.
For her part, Me Zoubida Assoul observed that these articles only contain facts.
She specified that “Rabah Karèche did not express any personal opinion, he only reported a fact which took place in Tamanrasset”.
“Instead of being imprisoned, the journalist should on the contrary be thanked for what he has accomplished,” she said.
For his part, lawyer Abdelghani Badi emphasized the trivialization of the imprisonment of journalists which, according to him, does not serve the interests of the country.
“At least a dozen journalists have been deprived of their rights. It’s a setback for the journalist’s situation in Algeria, ”he regretted.
According to him, these overruns and these attempts to silence journalists constitute a real attack on the reputation of the country.
“The authorities believe they are serving their narrow interests by imprisoning journalists, but in reality they are damaging the image of the country,” said Badi.