Algerian president pardons some Hirak activists
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune ordered on Monday the release of a number of activists in the Hirak protest movement who were previously arrested and convicted in cases related to popular gatherings.
Tebboune issued a presidential pardon on the occasion of Algeria’s 59th independence day anniversary from France, which falls on 5 July.
The justice ministry said in a statement that relevant judicial authorities began releasing prisoners on Sunday, and have so far freed 18 people.
This came only days after Algerian authorities arrested the head of an opposition party for allegedly insulting Tebboune among other charges.
Algeria's interior ministry had issued a decision in May to ban all public gatherings and demonstrations without prior consent and strict rules related to these demonstrations.
It was not clear whether the presidential pardon would include other people jailed for political activities related to the Hirak, which has continued to demand a complete overhaul of the ruling political class.
A wave of arrests has taken place in Algeria since the nationwide protests erupted in early 2019, including that of journalists and activists.
They have been accused of "violating the constitution, undermining national unity and threatening public security".
According to a committee defending detained activists, the number of those behind bars from the Hirak reached 300, some of whom are awaiting trial.
Brahime Lalami, a prominent figure in the Hirak who began demonstrating against former president Bouteflika in 2019 – which sparked the uprising – was once again arrested and referred to the judiciary.
Sources say he was trying to leave to Europe to avoid prosecution, like many others opposing Algeria’s political system.