Supporters of jailed Algerian journalist demonstrate

Alexander Nyarko Yeboah – GITFIConline.com

The Khaled Drareni Support Committee has organized a demonstration to protest against what they call the unjust sentencing of a prominent Algerian journalist in their bid to fight for press freedom in Algeria.

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The demonstration is also to get the international community to mount pressure on the Algerian government to release 40 year-old Khaled Drareni, a newspaper editor and a correspondent for French TV.

Gitficonline chanced on the news item on Tuesday from Africanews, which put up reactions of some of the demonstrators regarding their bitterness against the treatment of the journalist.

Amar Belho uchet, an Algerian journalist and former director of the French-language daily El Watan, in his rage, observed that Khaled Drareni had been sent to where he did not deserve, “His place is not in prison, his place is in the newsroom of his site, his place is with his journalists. It is intolerable that he still remains in prison today.”

Kenza Khatto, a journalist, insisting on the innocence of Drareni, said, “It is an unjust and cruel condemnation, it is a political condemnation, if we want to be honest.”

In an earlier statement published by the New York Times, his lawyer, Abdelghani Badi said he was jailed for just doing his job. “The charges are completely empty. All he did was give information, in words and images. He did nothing more than his work as a journalist.”

Drareni has been charged with “inciting an unarmed gathering” and “endangering national unity” after covering protests of the Hirak opposition movement, which has marched against the government for more than a year.

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The Hirak protest movement had forced the removal of the country’s longtime ruler, Abdelaziz Bouteflika last year.

Drareni was sentenced on August 24 to three years in prison, and had been in detention since March.

Reporters without Borders have condemned his sentence, describing it as “arbitrary, absurd and violent.”

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