The APS (Algérie Presse Service) is a governmental body, a state news agency under the direct control of the Algerian authorities. In a news article published on September 1, the agency alleged that the United Nations Human Rights Council had rejected a complaint submitted by the Algerian community established abroad on the violations of human rights and unlawful imprisonment of journalists by the military-led regime.
Today, September 4th, the spokesperson for the the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, denied the allegations in a statement published on OHCHR website “The information contained in the article – widely picked up by other media in Algeria and elsewhere – was completely fabricated from start to finish,” the statement read. “There is no United Nations human rights body with that name and we were unable to identify any UN staff or independent expert by the name of Issam Al Muhammadi“.
On the progress of the complaint’s processing, the spokesperson stated “the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed that Algerian citizens and activists have lodged complaints in recent weeks, and that relevant human rights bodies will examine them in due course“.
The APS cited Issam Al Muhammadi as the source of the statement, presenting Issam as a an Egyptian official who officiates as ‘Secretary of the UN Litigation Office’. An office that simply doesn’t exist within the UN, and an “official” that isn’t even one working at the U.N.
A number of media set up by the regime also relayed the fake news, including Algérie Eco, Maghreb Info, Africain, 24HDZ, El Moudjahid, and a horde of other small news sites. The Embassy of Algeria to the United States also republished the fake news on its website.
The statement went on to read “we ask that the Algeria Presse Service and Radio Monte Carlo – if this is indeed the original source of the story – remove this false information and remove any ambiguity from their readers and listeners by explaining that the story is a pure invention“.
This article was updated on September 4 at 16:38 PM to reflect the facts clarified in the UN official statement.