Select this search icon to access the search form

Main menu

Facebook Share


    August 27, 2020

    The Algerian authorities must immediately end an escalating campaign of media harassment which has recently seen two prominent journalists handed harsh prison sentences simply for expressing their views or for covering protests, said Amnesty International today.

    Since the Hirak protest movement, which is calling for radical political change in Algeria, started in February 2019, at least eight journalists have been imprisoned over their reporting or social media posts, often after being convicted on bogus charges such as “harming Algeria’s territorial integrity”, “insulting the president of the republic” or “inciting a gathering”. Several news websites well known for their critical stance towards the government are facing disruption to their accessibility via Algerian networks.

    “The Algerian authorities are willing to do whatever it takes to silence criticism. Journalists have recently been imprisoned for sharing videos, criticizing the president, and expressing support for protest movements,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    May 28, 2019

    Algeria’s authorities must ensure the investigation into the death of protester Ramzi Yettou, 22, who was brutally beaten by police last month, is thorough, independent, impartial, and effective, said Amnesty International.

    The organization has gathered evidence including testimony from three eyewitnesses, a first-aid volunteer, two family members, two lawyers and a doctor which suggests Ramzi’s death on 19 April resulted from the injuries he sustained after being beaten by the police with baton sticks.

    According to the information available to Amnesty International, Ramzi was beaten on the head by police as he was about to head home after attending anti-government protests in central Algiers that were dispersed by security forces using teargas and water cannons on 12 April 2019.

    March 01, 2019

    Algerian security forces must refrain from using excessive or unnecessary force to disperse peaceful demonstrations against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term in office, said Amnesty International, ahead of a fresh wave of protests planned tomorrow all over the country.

    Since 22 February, a series of largely peaceful demonstrations have taken place across the country including protests by lawyers, students and journalists opposing a fifth mandate for President Bouteflika, who has been in power for nearly 20 years, in the upcoming presidential elections on 18 April.

    “As tensions rise amid growing protests, we are appealing to the Algerian authorities to exercise restraint, respect the rights of demonstrators and not to use excessive or unnecessary force to quell peaceful protests,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International. 

    “The world’s eyes are on Algeria right now and how the government chooses to respond to these demonstrations will be a crucial test of its commitment to upholding the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

    January 22, 2019

    Algeria’s Court of Appeal must end the ordeal of the journalist, Adlène Mellah, who was jailed simply for covering a peaceful public gathering last month, said Amnesty International today ahead of his appeal hearing on 23 January.

    Adlène Mellah, director of news websites Algerie direct et Dzair Press has been held in solitary confinement since he was jailed in El Harrach prison on 11 December 2018.

    "It is outrageous that a journalist has been imprisoned simply for carrying out his work and exercising his rights to freedom of expression. The authorities must overturn Adlène Mellah’s conviction and drop all the charges against him in this case immediately," said Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “Adlène Mellah’s case sends an alarming message about the state of media freedom in Algeria today. Journalists must be allowed to carry out their work free from harassment or intimidation, without fear of being arrested by the authorities.”

    June 25, 2018

    Algerian prosecutors should drop all charges against six activists facing prison sentences on charges stemming from their support of an embattled human rights lawyer, Amnesty International said today. The First Instance Tribunal in the central Algerian city of Ghardaia is expected to issue a verdict in their trial tomorrow.

    Fethi Ghares, a candidate in the 2019 presidential election for Socialist Democratic Movement (MDS) party; MDS member Hamid Ferhi; Abdelkader Kherba, Kaddour Chouicha and Ahmed Nanseri, all members of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH); and Nadir Dabouz, the nephew of human rights lawyer Salah Dabouz, are being tried on charges of incitement to a gathering of an unarmed nature, insulting a public official, and refusal to abide by a law. Prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence the six defendants to one year in prison and fine them 100,000 Algerian dinars (853 US dollars).

    May 25, 2018

    Responding to the news that blogger Merzoug Touati was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 50,000 Algerian dinar (approximately USD $430) for online posts, Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It is utterly shocking that the Algerian authorities have imposed such a heavy sentence on someone solely for expressing his peaceful opinion online.

    “Merzoug Touati’s arrest, trial and sentence is further proof that freedom of expression remains under threat in Algeria, where the authorities continue to use a range of repressive laws to quell dissent.

    “As a citizen-journalist, Merzoug Touati has every right to document the world around him and the country he lives in.

    "Algerian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Touati, a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for peacefully expressing his views on Facebook and YouTube."

    May 23, 2018

    The trial of an Algerian blogger who faces the death penalty on trumped-up espionage charges based on online posts is yet another stain on the country’s human rights record, Amnesty International said today ahead of the opening hearing on 24 May.

    Merzoug Touati faces charges relating to a Facebook post and YouTube video that authorities claim encouraged civil unrest. He has been in detention since January 2017.

    Amnesty International has reviewed the court documents which list as “evidence” the posts published by Touati before his Facebook account and website were deleted, and found that there was no incitement to violence or advocacy of hatred, rather his posts were covered by freedom of expression in relation to his work as a citizen-journalist. Amnesty International therefore considers Merzoug Touati a prisoner of conscience held solely for expressing his peaceful opinions.

    March 02, 2018

    Responding to the Algerian authorities’ decision to close the offices of two prominent women’s rights organizations, FARD (Femmes Algériennes Revendiquant leurs Droits) and AFEPEC (Association Féministe pour l'Épanouissement de la Personne et l'Exercice de la Citoyenneté), Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, Najia Bounaim, said:

    “The targeting of these women’s groups is a shameless attack on the right to freedom of association and participation. This is just another example of the disturbing recent clampdown on civil society organisations by the Algerian authorities that must stop now.

    “Both organizations must be allowed to resume operations immediately and without fear of reprisal. Such tactics are reminiscent of a by-gone era and are contrary to Algeria’s obligations under international law.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    October 23, 2017

    The Algerian authorities have launched a discriminatory crackdown against foreign nationals, rounding up and forcibly expelling more than 2,000 sub-Saharan African migrants from a range of countries to neighbouring Niger and Mali over the past three weeks, said Amnesty International. Those expelled include more than 300 minors, among them at least 25 unaccompanied children.

    The new wave of arrests started on 22 September when Algerian police and gendarmes began arbitrarily detaining migrants in the capital, Algiers, and neighbouring suburbs. Research by Amnesty International indicates they made arrests on the basis of racial profiling as they did not seek to ascertain whether the migrants had the right to stay in the country, either by checking their passports or other documents. Some of those arrested and deported are undocumented migrants, while others have valid visas.

    “There can be no justification for rounding up and forcibly deporting hundreds of people based on the colour of their skin or their assumed country of origin – a blatant case of mass racial profiling,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.

    May 18, 2016

    The Algerian authorities must end their relentless efforts to silence peaceful protesters, said Amnesty International ahead of the start of the trial tomorrow of four protesters from the southern city of Ouargla who are facing up to a year in prison for taking part in protests against unemployment in Algeria’s oil capital, Hassi Messaoud.

    Prominent activist Tahar Belabes, a member of the National Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC), and three other CNDDC members have been charged with taking part in “unarmed gatherings” in 2015. If convicted, all four men could face up to a year in jail.

    “Imprisoning Tahar Belabes and his colleagues simply for taking part in peaceful protests would be an outrageous attack on the right to freedom of expression and assembly. Their only ‘crime’ appears to be that they stood up for the rights of the unemployed. They should not even be on trial – let alone facing a possible prison term. The charges against them should be dropped immediately,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    October 21, 2015

    The Algerian government must cease its relentless campaign of censorship of private broadcasters if it is going to live up to its pledge to uphold and strengthen media freedoms in the country, said Amnesty International as the country marks National Press Day on 22 October.

    Only last week police raided and shut down El Watan TV, confiscating equipment and escorting staff out of the station’s office in the capital Algiers after it broadcast an interview with a controversial government critic.

    In 2014 the government introduced restrictive licensing laws which have left many broadcasters in legal limbo operating under the constant threat of censorship.

    “The government’s repeated shutdowns of private TV stations that dare to criticize it, such as El Watan TV, is a clear and present danger to the survival of a free media in Algeria,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Director of North Africa and the Middle East.

    November 24, 2014

    On 25 November 2014, Amnesty International will mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by launching a briefing on sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in Algeria.

    The Algerian authorities took long overdue steps to address sexual and gender-based violence earlier this year when they adopted a decree to provide financial compensation for victims of sexual violence by armed groups in the 1990s internal conflict, during which hundreds – if not thousands – of women were abducted and raped. They have also proposed draft laws, which, if adopted, would make violence against a spouse and sexual harassment in public places criminal offences.

    However, Amnesty International believes the new measures do not go far enough and are symptomatic of a fragmented approach to sexual and gender-based violence.

    April 13, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 14 April 2014

    •        Freedom of expression, association and assembly under threat with restrictions on protests, private TV station taken off air and NGOs in legal limbo
    •        International human rights groups and UN human rights experts barred
    •        Independent trade unions harassed amid social tensions and employment protests
    •        Laws fail to protect women from gender-based violence and criminal suspects from torture
    •        Failure to tackle pervasive impunity

    Mounting curbs on freedom of expression in the run-up to Algeria’s upcoming elections underscore disturbing shortcomings in the country’s overall human rights record, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.

    October 15, 2013

    The Algerian authorities must immediately release a blogger detained on terrorism and defamation charges after he shared photos and caricatures of the President and the Prime Minister on his Facebook account, Amnesty International said.

    The lawyer of 24-year-old blogger Abdelghani Aloui filed, on 13 October, a request for his release pending trial. A decision is expected this week.

    “The Algerian authorities appear to be trying to stifle criticism at a time of uncertainty ahead of presidential elections due next year. Abdelghani Aloui must be immediately released and all charges against him dropped,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The authorities are vastly overreacting to what is nothing more than legitimate expression. Using terrorism-related charges to detain someone for sharing images on social media sites sets a very dangerous precedent.”

    Abdelghani Aloui was arrested on 15 September and held in pre-arraignment detention for 10 days under Algerian criminal procedures, which allow terrorism suspects to be held for up to 12 days before seeing a magistrate.


    Subscribe to Algeria