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21.05.2020 Europe

Even with new government, Algeria continues crackdown on dissenters

By RFI
Tiksa Negeri/Reuters
LISTEN MAY 21, 2020
Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Two courts in Algeria jailed three activists after finding them guilty of criticizing President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and the judiciary on social media, which comes under the charge of threatening national unity, according to the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD

Larbi Tahar and Boussif Mohamed Boudiaf were sentenced to 18 months in prison in El Bayadh, southern Algeria, while Soheib Debghi was sentenced to one year by an Algiers tribunal.

After 20 years under Abdelaziz Bouteflika, voters elected Tebboune last December following Bouteflika's ouster and months of street protests against the political elite.

The activist group CNLD maintains that the new government is quashing human rights. Reports of arrests against journalists, bloggers and others expressing dissent has intensified since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The government passed a law earlier this year criminalizing “fake news” promoters, as well as one outlawing hate speech on social media.

The Tebboune government claims it will actually improve freedoms later this year when the referendum for a new constitution is put to the vote.

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