New York, February 8, 2023 – In response to news reports that Algerian police arrested journalist Mustapha Bendjama on Wednesday, February 8, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“The recent arrest of Algerian journalist and press freedom advocate Mustapha Bendjama from his place of work is shocking, and authorities must free him at once,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Authorities must release Bendjama without condition, and ensure that journalists can work freely and without fear of imprisonment.”
On Wednesday, police arrested Bendjama, editor-in-chief of local independent news website Le Provincial, from his office in Annaba, in northeast Algeria, after raiding it and confiscating his phone and work computer, according to those reports and a local journalist who is following the case and spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
Authorities questioned Bendjama about the French Algerian journalist Amira Bouraoui, who recently fled to France, according to those sources, which said Bouraoui denied that Bendjama had any connection to her traveling out of the country.
The journalist who spoke to CPJ said Bendjama is being held in a police station in Annaba. CPJ emailed the Algerian Ministry of Interior, which oversees the police, for comment but did not receive any response.