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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Algeria ex-policeman turned protester gets 2 years jail

A former policeman was sentanced to jail [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 September, 2020

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Former Algerian policeman Toufik Hassani was convicted of "threatening police agents"
A former Algerian policeman who joined the country's protest movement was sentenced on Thursday to two years in jail, a prisoners' rights group said.

Toufik Hassani was convicted of "threatening police agents" and "divulging professional secrets on Facebook", according to the CNLD group.

Hassani had decried police repression of a student march in the capital Algiers in October 2019, six months after the "Hirak" protest movement forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign. 

Authorities have intensified a crackdown on political opponents, activists and journalists, arresting increasing numbers of people and handing out jail terms.

Journalist Khaled Drareni was jailed for two years on appeal Tuesday for his coverage of protests, prompting condemnation from rights watchdogs.

The Hirak movement has lost momentum this year, largely due to social distancing necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Elections in December 2019 brought Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a former prime minister under Bouteflika, to power.

But the presidential poll -- derided by Hirak as a charade allowing a discredited elite to retain power  -- yielded an official turnout of less than 40 percent, while analysts said participation was likely considerably lower. 

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