New York, August 29, 2023—The Committee to Protect journalists condemns the two-year prison sentence issued to Algerian journalist Mustapha Bendjama on Tuesday, August 29.
“An Algerian court’s decision to sentence journalist and press freedom advocate Mustapha Bendjama to two years in prison is deeply cruel and constitutes an attack on free speech throughout the country,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour, in Washington, D.C. “Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Bendjama, drop all charges against him, and cease imprisoning journalists for their work.”
On Tuesday, a court in the eastern city of Constantine sentenced Bendjama, editor-in-chief of local independent news website Le Provincial, to two years in prison after convicting him of receiving foreign funding to commit acts against public order and publishing classified information.
Bendjama has been in jail since police arrested him on February 8 from his office in Annaba, in northeast Algeria, after raiding it and confiscating his phone and work computer.
Bendjama is waiting for a trial date to be set in another case, where he is accused of having helped the French Algerian journalist Amira Bouraoui flee to France in early 2023. Bouraoui has denied that Bendjama had any connection to her traveling out of Algeria, according to media reports.
CPJ emailed the Algerian Ministry of Interior for comment but did not receive any response.