Hirak activists continue to demand the release of all those arrested in connection with the protest movement in Algeria. According to several human rights organizations, if the weekly marches have been suspended since March 20 due to the health situation linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the pressures and arrests continue. Internet users are particularly targeted because of their publications on social networks.
With our correspondent in Algiers, Magali Lagrange
At least 3 people have done so since the start of the week. The sentences pronounced by the Algerian justice go up to 18 months in prison, for ” publications that may harm the national interest ” or ” contempt of the President of the Republic “
Amnesty International notes an increase in pressure since the start of the health crisis, through invitations to activists or people active on Facebook, and not necessarily for new publications. The NGO also notes that the sentences seem more severe, the prison terms replacing the suspended ones.
Detained for publishing critical “memes”
The photo and the name of Walid Kechida circulate for example on social networks, in recent weeks. This young man of 25, a supporter of Hirak, has been detained in Setif since April 27, for having published “memes”: hijacked images mocking in particular the authorities. He is accused of contempt of body, of offense to the President of the Republic. He faces up to 5 years in prison.
Several researchers and observers agree that the Algerian government is toughening the repression against opponents of the regime in place, since the protests have been suspended. The National Committee for the Release of Detainees currently lists around sixty people incarcerated in connection with the Hirak.
► Read also: Algeria: “Nothing can stop the Algerian people in their march for democracy”