New York, June 20, 2023 – Algerian authorities should immediately release journalist Ihsane el-Kadi and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On Sunday, June 18, an appeals court in Algiers increased from five to seven years a sentence for el-Kadi, editor-in-chief and director of local independent broadcaster Radio M and news website Maghreb Emergent. Two years of that sentence are suspended, according to news reports.
The verdict was issued after el-Kadi appealed an April 2 decision sentencing him to five years in prison, two years of which were suspended, for allegedly receiving illegal foreign funding.
“Algerian authorities’ decision to increase journalist Ihsane el-Kadi’s prison sentence on appeal is a slap in the face to those seeking justice within the country’s legal system,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release el-Kadi, drop all charges against him, and ensure that journalists can work without fear of imprisonment.”
At his April 2 sentencing, authorities also fined el-Kadi 700,000 dinars (about US$5,150) and ordered the dissolution of Radio M and Maghreb Emergent.
On May 11, the European Parliament adopted a resolution highlighting el-Kadi’s case and calling for his release.
Authorities arrested el-Kadi on December 24, 2022, from his home in Algiers, one day after he discussed the likelihood of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune serving a second term in an episode of his radio program CPP on Radio M.
CPJ emailed the Algerian Ministry of Interior for comment but did not receive any response.