Algeria arrests another journalist amid repression of press freedom

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Algerian authorities arrested a journalist from a local French-language newspaper and searched his home, a human rights group and one of his colleagues said on Monday.

“Mohamed Mouloudj, a journalist for the daily Liberte, was arrested on Sunday and his house was searched,” the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) said on Facebook.

“He is still detained in Algiers. “Mouloudj’s newspaper, where he has worked for a decade, did not immediately comment, but one of his colleagues confirmed the arrest.

“He had already had problems with the security services, who took his passport from him for months,” said Ali Boukhlef.

“They had also brought him in for questioning several times.”

Another Algerian journalist, Hassan Bouras, was arrested a week ago and formally placed in pre-trial detention on Sunday, charged with “glorifying terrorism” among other crimes, his lawyers said.

Algeria is ranked 146th out of 180 countries and territories in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index.

According to the prisoners’ rights group CNLD, around 200 people are in jail in connection with Hirak’s pro-democracy protest movement that has sporadically rocked the North African country since 2019, or for individual freedoms.

Also on Monday, the police announced the arrest of 16 people suspected of belonging to the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylia (MAK), which according to the government is a terrorist organization.

They were arrested in connection with an investigation into the recent wildfires in the north-eastern Kabylie region and the lynching of a man after rumors spread that he had started deadly fires in the area.

An unidentified journalist was said to be among the 16 suspects.

The official APS news agency, citing police, said 11 of those arrested were “involved” in the murder of Djamel Ben Ismail, who volunteered to help put out the fires that killed dozens of people in August.

More than 80 suspects have been arrested in the man’s death.

(AFP)