The court in Algiers also gave a four-month sentence to two Hirak activists.
Rabat – On Monday, August 10, an Algerian court sentenced Khaled Drareni and two other activists on charges of “harming national unity,” according to the Algerian National Committee for the Release of Detainees.
Journalist Khaled Drareni received the longest sentence, of three years’ imprisonment, for covering a Hirak anti-government demonstration on March 7.
At the Algiers court that sentenced Drareni, two other activists received a four-month sentence for their role in the Algerian Hirak (Movement) that aimed to address structural political issues in Algeria. Security services arrested the two activists at the demonstration where Khaled Drareni was reporting. They joined a growing list of government critics who have been arrested in recent months.
Prosecution accused Drareni of “attacking national integrity” for his role in broadcasting the popular movement that led to the end of the 20-year reign of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. While many cheered the fall of Bouteflika, who had planned to run for a fifth presidential term, the oppression of voices critical of the government continues.
The 40-year-old Khaled Drareni ran an online publication that covers Algerian news. He also worked as a foreign correspondent for French broadcaster TV5 Monde and NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Algeria has apparently used the health crisis as cover to arrest journalists, activists, and people who criticize the government on social media. Security services have brought in dozens of activists for police interrogations, according to various human rights organizations, often for posting critical statements online.