In Algeria, Hirak activists continue to demand the release of all those arrested in connection with the protest movement. Several human rights organizations say that if the weekly marches have been suspended since March 20, due to the health situation linked to the coronavirus pandemic, pressure and arrests will continue.
Since the beginning of the week, at least three people have been targeted by the Algerian authorities because of their publications on social networks. The sentences pronounced by the 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 increased pressures since the start of the health crisis, via 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.
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, diverted images, notably mocking the authorities. He is accused of contempt of body and offense to the President of the Republic. He faces up to five years in prison.
Several researchers and observers agree that Algerian government toughens repression of opponents to ruling regime since protests are suspended. The National Committee for the Release of Detainees currently lists around sixty people incarcerated in connection with the Hirak.