New York, August 12, 2021 – In response to today’s sentencing of journalist Rabah Karèche to one year in prison, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“Algerian journalist Rabah Karèche’s only crime was doing his job as a reporter; authorities should not force him to spend even one day in prison for his work,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Authorities must release Karèche immediately and unconditionally, and ensure that he, and all journalists in Algeria, can cover the news without fear of imprisonment.”
Today, the Tamanrasset court in southern Algeria convicted Karèche, a correspondent for the privately owned newspaper Liberté, of spreading false news harmful to the public order, using media to undermine national security and unity, and using an electronic account to disseminate information prone to causing segregation and hatred in society, according to a statement by his employer and news reports.
The court sentenced him to one year in prison, and then suspended four months of that sentence, those reports said. CPJ could not immediately determine whether Karèche intended to file an appeal, and the Algerian Ministry of Interior did not reply to an emailed request for comment.
Karéche has been held in pretrial detention since April 19, when authorities arrested him following his publication of an article on land-use protests by members of the Tuareg tribe in southern Algeria the previous day, as CPJ documented at the time.