Algeria / Political opponent arrested as military rulers settle old scores

5 mins read
Louisa Hanoune

The military rulers currently in power in Algeria, have insisted earlier this week for the presidential election to be held on the 4th of July 2019 despite the fact that most Algerians do not want this election to occur this soon, fearing massive electoral fraud as in all previous elections.

Rather, the Algerian people have demanded a transitional government in charge of setting up the required environment to have the elections organised transparently. Today, although some oligarchs have been arrested, the majority of the corrupt members of the regime are still free.

The General Secretary of the Workers’ Party (PT), Louisa Hanoune, was placed under arrest yesterday, Thursday 9th of May, by the prosecutor of the military court of Blida.

According to the public television, which showed the images of the arrival of Louisa Hanoune to the military court, her summon by the military court relates to the investigation of the two ex-intelligence chiefs, Mohamed Mediène, alias Toufik, and Athmane Tartag, alias Bachir, as well as Saïd Bouteflika, younger brother of the ousted president, prosecuted for “attacking the authority of the army” and “conspiracy against the authority of the State“.

Immediately after the announcement of the arrest of Louisa Hanoune, her party reacted on its Facebook page, considering that it is a “political” arrest. “Louisa Hanoune is arrested for her political positions“, denounced the direction of the PT.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) equally denounced the incarceration of the Secretary General of the Workers’ Party.

The situation is taking a dangerous turn, a ‘coup de force’ in favour of a clan transition is settling, whereby increasingly, the National People’s Army appears to be at the center of this maneuver. Even today, another step has been taken; a political leader of a party, is arrested after her appearance as a witness before the military court, thereby opening the way to all scenarios and all abuses“, denounced the LADDH.

An escalation that worries us in more than one way, will this ‘conspiracy against the army’ charge become the one-size fits all charge for silencing all discordant voices against the political roadmap General Gaid seeks to impose on the people“, added the NGO.

The movement must continue to mobilize and keep its course around the main objective claimed since February 22, namely, the departure of the system and its symbols. See you tomorrow at the 12th peaceful march“, the statement concluded.

Blatant cases of censorship

According to the daily El Watan, the TV program “Question d’actu” of the journalist Nazim Aziri was censored by the director of the ENTV, Lotfi Cheriet.

The journalist, Nadjib Belhimer, wrote on his page “The show was censored because it revealed the falsehood of the need to adhere to the constitutional solution. It gave another reading of the arrests and the role of the army. Nothing has changed in public broadcasting practices. It was forbidden to criticize Bouteflika, it is wrong to criticize Gaïd Salah. The opinion that reveals the undecided nature of the official discourse is excluded“, added the same source.

Another TV presenter of the channel ‘A3’ has been dismissed for his role in the protest movement of journalists of this media in favour of maintaining an independent public broadcaster. Abderrezak Siah, who was presenting the 17.00 and 20.00 newscast, was dismissed by A3’s management, said Abdelmadjid Benkaci, a journalist with Canal Algérie. This decision was notified to Siah on May 4, he added.

According to Benkaci, the presenter has been dismissed for severely criticizing the public channel in an interview with Berbère Télévision, on the sidelines of a weekly sit-in of television journalists on April 29. “Public television was not the mouthpiece of the state but the mouthpiece of corruption” said Siah at the time, “our main mission is to provide a public service. I call on all TV journalists and Hirak youth to peacefully support our fight“.

As weeks go by and the protests reach their 12th week, it appears more than ever that a counter-revolution is under way, with the regime seeking to perpetuate itself whilst settling old scores.

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