Free speech / In Algeria, journalism is being criminalised

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The repressive apparatus of the Algerian regime has begun targeting journalists, with the aim of silencing any discordant voice. The example of freelance blogger Said Boudour is very illustrative.

Said Boudour is a member of the local section (Oran, west of Algiers ) of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH), which denounced his detention in a statement published on its Facebook page. He is known to have published stories for the online news outlet Algérie Direct that alleged the participation of public officials in smuggling cocaine into Oran city. A big scandal that shook the country last year.

More recently, he covered arrests of anti-government protesters in Oran and other stories alleging corruption for the news website Journalistes Citoyens d’Algérie. He is one of the most important figures of the protest in Oran, known for his opposition to a military rule.

Oran, 34e vendredi : Le journaliste Said Boudour pour Berbère Télévision

Oran, 34e vendredi : Le journaliste Said Boudour pour Berbère Télévision

Posted by Berbère Télévision on Friday, October 11, 2019
Said Boudour talking to Berber TV

On October 6, in response to a summons, Said Boudour had turned himself in to the authorities at the Department of National Security in Oran and had been conditionally released the following day. However, that order was overturned on October 15 when a judge at a court in the city ordered him to be held in pretrial detention pending trial on charges of “undermining the morale of the army,” “defamation and the spread of fake news,” and “insulting the regime of Algeria,” according to a post by the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD) on their Facebook page. These are typical of charges often held in Algerian courts against opponents and human rights defenders.

He is being held in an Oran prison.