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."