French journalists urge Algeria to free reporter sentenced to prison over protest coverage

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FRENCH journalists on Monday demanded the release of Algerian reporter Khaled Drareni, who was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment over his coverage of an anti-government demonstration in March.

The anti-government demonstration was organied by Algeria’s Hirak opposition movement and the reporter is due to be tried on appeal on Tuesday.

Drareni, an Algerian journalist reporting for the French TV channel TV5Monde, is also a member of Reporters Without Borders (RFS).

He was arrested on March 7 during a protest organised by the Hirak movement, which has been calling for changes in the country’s political system since 2019.

On Aug. 10, the government sentenced the reporter to three years of prison for “undermining national unity” by his reports on the opposition movement.

“Mobilisation in front of the embassy of #Algeria television presenters in Paris for journalist Khaled Drareni, a correspondent for RSF, sentenced to 3 years in prison for covering the demonstrations of #Hirak,”  the RFS tweeted on Monday.

Drareni has also been the subject of a major international solidarity campaign called #WeAreKhaled.

The RFS said earlier in August that the situation regarding press freedom has deteriorated in Algeria, which the organisation put in 146th place out of 180 in its World Press Freedom Index 2020.

The Hirak opposition movement has carried out a series of protests since February 2019 to prevent the country’s former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, from trying for a fifth presidential term.

The demonstrations, also referred to as the Revolution of Smiles, led to Bouteflika’s resignation in April 2019 and have been calling for democracy in Algeria.

NAN

– Sept. 7, 2020 @15:51 GMT |

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