Algerian journalist Belkacem Djir sentenced by court on Sunday from Algiers to three years in prison in a common law case, according to an association supporting prisoners. The National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD) relayed the information on its Facebook page.
“In the wrong place with the wrong person”
Belkacem Djir was accused of usurpation of function and blackmail. On the other hand, the accusation chamber of the Algiers court had ruled on April 22 dismissal for the accusation of “attack on the morale of the army”. No information was available on the alleged facts, most of the lawyers having refused to discuss his case publicly, admitting in private that “his file is sensitive”.
Belkacem Djir, 34, was detained on July 15, 2019, a journalist for the private news TV channel Echourouk News, where he produces and presents political broadcasts.
Before his trial, his lawyer, Me Faiza Guettache, had claimed that he was “a victim of the gray areas surrounding the investigative work of journalists”. According to her, he was “in the wrong place with the wrong person” at the time of the events.
“A flagrant deterioration of press freedom in Algeria”
According to the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF), “the multiplication of prosecutions against Algerian journalists is extremely worrying and indicates a flagrant deterioration of freedom of press in Algeria “.
Several Algerian journalists are currently behind bars, including Khaled Drareni, founder of the online news site Casbah Tribune and correspondent for the French-language television channel TV5 Monde, and Abdelkrim Zeghileche, director of an Internet radio station, Radio-Sarbacane .
Like others, they are prosecuted for reasons related to “Hirak”, the popular anti-regime protest movement born in February 2019.