Random highlights from the Algerian media - because English speakers need to follow Algeria news too

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Benchicou released

Reuters, El Khabar (EN), Liberte: Mohamed Benchicou, the former editor of independent newspaper Le Matin jailed in June 2004 on the charge of illegally transferring money abroad shortly after publishing a book entitled Bouteflika, an Algerian Fraud, has been released from El-Harrach prison in Algiers. Liberte described his appearance on release as "slightly pale, thinner, and very excited", adding that police violently pushed photographers away from the scene. Asked about the possibility of reviving Le Matin, he told El Khabar: "If the government calls off its tools of suppression among the tax services, justice, and police, we will be back shortly"; a one-off special edition of Le Matin came out yesterday to mark the occasion. Of his time in prison, he said "I was prevented from any correspondence directed to me the length of the two years I spent in prison; I was forbidden from private treatment; I stood before the investigative judge 44 times to answer questions about articles published by Le Matin; I spent my days and nights in undergound cells, in intense cold and dirt..."

After his release, Liberte records, he went to a sort of rally at the press house, attended by arouch (Kabyle activist) members, RAFD (Algerian Assembly of Democratic Women) members, the president of the LADDH (Algerian human rights organization), and journalists, as well as the previously jailed Moroccan journalist Ali Lmrabet. In his speech to them, he said "Algeria needs freedom, and the time has come to struggle for this freedom... I give you an appointment for other struggles and other springs." His next step will be to fight 29 other lawsuits filed against him, El Khabar notes, giving no details.

Human Rights Watch and the International Federation of Journalists announced that they welcomed his release.


Post a Comment

<< Home