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Pro-democracy activist sentenced to 10 years for ‘inciting atheism’

ALGIERS – An activist who was substantially involved in the anti regime protests that have rocked the country since February 2019, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for ‘incitement to atheism’ and ‘offending Islam’.

Yacine Mebarki, 52 years old, was arrested on the 30th of September following a police search at his home where the police had unearthed an old yellowing Quran book, one page of which was ripped. The police and prosecution service subsequently proceeded to charge Mebarki with destroying the Quran book motivated by hatred against Islam. No credible evidence was put forward by the prosecution service.

The Algerian League of Human Rights denounced a politically motivated sentence as retribution for Mebarki’s activism against the regime. The NGO’s vice-president expressed shock “for the heaviness of the verdict against a citizen who only expressed his opinion on social networks“.

While prosecutors requested an 8 year sentence, the judged opted for 10 years. Yacine Mebarki will appeal the sentence.

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