Khaled Drareni is retried on appeal Tuesday, September 8.
Sentenced to three years in prison and imprisoned since the end of March, the 40-year-old Algerian independent journalist is due to appear in the middle of the morning by "videoconference" from the Koléa prison center, near Algiers, where he is imprisoned.
The date of the verdict is not known.
"I saw Khaled Drareni two days ago, he is in good spirits, he is confident. If the Algiers court applies the law, it can only pronounce his acquittal," said one of his lawyers on Monday. , Mustapha Bouchachi, who asks for his release outright.
Strong mobilization of support
Since his conviction, demonstrations of solidarity and calls to release Khaled Drareni have multiplied beyond the borders of Algeria.
A citizen petition calling for his release has already obtained more than 3,000 signatures in Algeria and abroad.
On Monday, journalists and human rights activists gathered in Paris, Algiers and Tunis chanting “Free Khaled!”.
Some images of the rally of support and solidarity with the prisoner journalist @khaleddrareni #Alger #Algerie pic.twitter.com/pruqSWNUQb
- INTERLINES (@inter_lignes) September 7, 2020
"I ask the Algerian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of my colleague Khaled Drareni," French journalist Edwy Plenel, president of Mediapart, said in a video released by Amnesty International.
Khaled Drareni is a journalist imprisoned in Algeria simply for doing his job.
For his release, journalists from all over the world responded!
- Amnesty France (@amnestyfrance) September 7, 2020
"The Algerian authorities wanted to set an example to intimidate all journalists in Algeria," commented RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire.
"And he made it a symbol of the defense of press freedom," he observed.
Christophe Deloire took part in a demonstration on Monday in front of the Algerian embassy in Paris, which brought together several French journalists, including Laurent Delahousse, Harry Roselmack, Guy Lagache or Bernard de la Villardière.
✏️Mobilization this morning in front of the Embassy of # Algeria in Paris for journalist Khaled Drareni, correspondent of @ TV5MONDEINFO #RSF @cdeloire @RSF_inter sentenced to 3 years in prison for having covered the demonstrations of #Hirak #libertedelapresse #WeAreKhaled pic. twitter.com/YD75UrGo9U
- Laurent Delahousse (@LaurentDelahous) September 7, 2020
Khaled Drareni's cause has been traced back to the UN, the European Union and the African Union (AU) who have expressed their "concern".
Director of the Casbah Tribune news site and correspondent in Algeria for the French-speaking channel TV5 Monde and for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Khlaed Drareni was sentenced on August 10 to three years' imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 dinars ( 330 euros) for "incitement to unarmed assembly" and "attack on national unity".
A verdict of unprecedented severity against a journalist.
The "right to inform"
He was arrested in Algiers on March 7 while covering a demonstration of "Hirak", the popular uprising that rocked Algeria for more than a year until his suspension a few months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He is also accused of having criticized the political system on Facebook and published a statement by a coalition of political parties in favor of a general strike, according to RSF.
During his trial, Khaled Drareni rejected these accusations.
He assured that he had only done his "job as a freelance journalist", and exercised "his right to inform".
His appeal trial is taking place in a climate of tension against the independent media, “Hirak” activists and political opponents.
In recent months, journalists have been accused by the regime of sowing discord and "subversion", of threatening the national interest and above all of being in the pay of "foreign parties".
The group of lawyers of Khaled Drareni denounced, in a statement, "the repeated media outings of the executive power" which "undermine the presumption of innocence and the separation of powers", and he lambasted "the pressure on judges who are under the influence ".
Several Algerian journalists are in prison and other trials are underway.
Algeria is in 146th place (out of 180) in the 2020 world press freedom ranking established by RSF.
It has lost 27 places in five years.
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