New York, April 3, 2023 – In response to news reports that an Algerian court sentenced journalist Ihsane el-Kadi to five years in prison on Sunday and dissolved the local independent broadcaster Radio M and news website Maghreb Emergent, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:
“An Algerian court’s decision to sentence journalist Ihsane el-Kadi to five years in prison and dissolve two of the country’s last independent news outlets is utterly shocking,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director. “Algerian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release el-Kadi, not contest his appeal, and allow Radio M and Maghreb Emergent to resume their work freely.”
On Sunday, April 2, the Sidi M’hamed Court in Algiers convicted el-Kadi, editor-in-chief and director of Radio M and Maghreb Emergent, of receiving “foreign funding for his business” and sentenced him to five years in prison, while suspending two years of that sentence, and fined him 700,000 dinars (US$5,200), according to those reports. The journalist intends to appeal the decision, those reports said.
The court also ordered the dissolution of the local independent company Interface Media, which owns the two outlets, and fined the company 10 million dinars (US$73,750).
Authorities arrested el-Kadi on December 24, 2022, from his home in Boumerdes, east of Algiers, and shuttered Radio M and Maghreb Emergent, one day after el-Kadi had discussed the likelihood of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune serving a second term in an episode of his radio program CPP on Radio M.