Rabat - Mohamed Tamalt, Algerian Journalist and Blogger, detained on charges of insulting Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has died today after falling into a 3-month coma as the result of a hunger strike.
Rabat – Mohamed Tamalt, Algerian Journalist and Blogger, detained on charges of insulting Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has died today after falling into a 3-month coma as the result of a hunger strike.
Mohamed Tamalt aged 42, known for his disapproval of the Algerian authorities and the President Bouteflika, died December 11th in Bab El Oued hospital as the direct result of a hunger strike-induced coma Tamalt observed for three months in protest of his 2-year prison sentence.
Tamalt’s lawyer, Amine Sayidhom, confirmed the death of his client in a Facebook post the same day:
“I confirm the death of Journalist Mohamed Tamalt in Bab El Oued hospital in Algiers after a hunger strike that lasted for 3 months followed by a 3-month coma.”
AFP reported that sources within Algeria’s Security Forces confirmed the news of the Journalist’s death, who received a 2-year prison sentence on June 11, 2016 and a fine of 200 thousand Algerian Dinars (USD 1800). The Court of Appeal confirmed the verdict on August 9th.
The General Directory of Prison Administration released a statement following the death of Tamalt revealing that Tamalt “died of pneumonia, which the doctors discovered 10 days ago and began treating on December 4th.” The statement added, “In the morning of Sunday, December 11th, his condition exacerbated and lead to his death.”
According to the Arabic-language news source, DW, Human Rights Watch called upon Algerian Authorities to vacate the ruling against the journalist, who also carries a British citizenship. The accusations, continues HRW, were related to content “that was shared on his Facebook page, particularly a poem that included ‘insults’ against the Algerian President.”
Tamalt was accused of “attacking the President of the Republic and defaming him” as well as “insulting an organizational body,” according to the Algerian Penal Code.
The family of Mohamed Tamalt released a statement to the Algerian media saying that they were not allowed to visit Tamalt and that he was subjected to abuse during his incarceration.
The Algerian Press Agency relayed the statements of Algeria’s Minister of Justice, Tayeb Louh, last October claiming, “All penal institutions contain health structures and therefore any act against the law is unacceptable.” The Minister continued by saying that if there were any violations against the journalist, investigations would uncover them.