Activist Amira Bouraoui sentenced to 10 years in prison by Algerian court

Algeria Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images - Nacerdine ZEBAR
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images - Nacerdine ZEBAR

An Algerian court on Tuesday sentenced French-Algerian activist Amira Bouraoui to 10 years in prison, in a case that sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Amira Bouraoui, who fled to France through Tunisia in February, was sentenced in absentia for an "illegal exit from the territory", one of the defence lawyers told Algerian media.

Political activist
Bouraoui, a doctor, came to be renowned as a political activist in the mid-2010s with the Barakat Movement that opposed ex-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's campaign for a fourth consecutive term.

She also took part in the 2019 Hirak mass protests that ousted Bouteflika.

Journalist Mustapha Bendjama, who was accused of helping her escape, was also sentenced to six months in prison - time he had already served, following his arrest in February.

Bendjama was due to be released on Tuesday after having already served nine months of "arbitrary detention", said Khaled Drareni, the North Africa representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in a post on X, formerly Twtter.

'Illegal exfiltration'
But Drareni later posted that there was "great uncertainty" surrounding his release.

The prosecution had requested 10 years in prison for Bouraoui and three years for Bendjama.

The court in the northeastern city of Constantine also sentenced Ali Takaida, a border police agent, to three years in prison.

Bouraoui's 71-year-old mother, Khadidja - whose passport the activist used to cross the border to Tunisia - was also handed a one-year suspended sentence.

Bouraoui's cousin, Yacine Bentayeb, as well as the taxi driver, Djamel Miassi, who drove her across the border, were sentenced to six months in prison each.

Algiers deemed her flight to France an "illegal exfiltration", sparking a diplomatic dispute with Paris.

(with AFP)