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Algerian court reduces jail sentence for journalist

The growing crackdown on Algeria's press has drawn international condemnation [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 November, 2020

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Abdelkrim Zeghileche, head of the web-based Radio-Sarbacane, was sentenced in August to two years in prison for "undermining national unity" and "insulting the head of state".
An Algerian journalist on Sunday had his jail term reduced on appeal to one year, including six months behind bars, a prisoners' rights group said.

Abdelkrim Zeghileche, head of the web-based Radio-Sarbacane, was sentenced in August to two years in prison for "undermining national unity" and "insulting the head of state".

He had been accused of posting calls on Facebook to create a new political party, according to his lawyer.

Zeghileche has been in custody since June 24 and is expected to be released at the end of December, prisoners' rights group CNLD said.

During Zeghileche's appeal on October 25, the prosecution had called for his sentence to be increased.

His was one of a string of trials of media and pro-democracy figures in the North African country in recent months.

Read also: Algerian president accuses Reporters Without Borders of trying to 'destabilise' country

The growing crackdown on Algeria's press has drawn international condemnation.

Reporters Without Borders ranked Algeria 146 out of 180 countries and territories in its 2020 World Press Freedom Index

Critics say the authorities have been targeting journalists and activists in order to prevent a resumption of the "Hirak" anti-government protests, which swept ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power last year.

The weekly demonstrations rocked Algeria for more than a year, and only came to a halt in March due to the coronavirus crisis.

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