Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Algerian court jails 21 protesters

The Arab World | 2019-11-12 15:58:58
Algerian court jails 21 protesters
A court in Algeria sentenced 21 protesters Tuesday to six months in jail for "undermining national unity", official media reported, a month ahead of a presidential election.

The verdict by the court in central Algiers also included additional six-month suspended sentences for the protesters, who were arrested for raising a flag symbolising the country's Berber minority, state news agency APS said.

Berbers, especially in the Kabylie region east of the capital, have sought more rights to promote their culture and language, but their yellow, red and blue flag is banned as it is deemed to threaten national unity.

During the early stages of weekly mass protests that broke out in February, some demonstrators waved the flag alongside the national one, but police began arresting them for this during the summer and it is no longer seen at the marches.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned April 2 but protesters continued to demand the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people suspected of involvement in corruption.

The army is now the main player in Algeria's politics, and its chief of staff, Ahmed Gaed Salah, has pushed for an election and has supported the detention of some former officials on graft charges.

But Gaed Salah has also warned against raising the Berber flag, saying it is a threat to national unity. The country's constitution recognises the Berber language, Amazigh, along with Arabic.

The Algiers court Tuesday also delayed issuing verdicts against 20 others protesters facing the same charges, including 11 held under arrest, until Nov. 18.

Protesters have rejected the Dec. 12 presidential election, saying it will not be fair as some of the old guard, including interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Nouredine Bedoui, are still in power.

The army has repeatedly vowed transparency for the vote in which five candidates will run, including two former prime ministers.

Comments (0)

Post Your Comments

fill all fields below
*This confirmation code will prevent auto submit
X :Latest News
Hazardous Sydney smoke turns up heat in Australia's climate politics      Rouhani says Iran will overcome U.S. sanctions      Tremors worsen on New Zealand volcano island, prevent recovery of bodies      Activist Thunberg denounces "clever accounting" in climate fight      India's parliament set to vote on contentious citizenship bill      Turkey says will retaliate against any sanctions ahead of U.S. vote      Blast damages hospital near biggest US base in Afghanistan      Austria's Handke receives Nobel Literature Prize amid protests, criticism