Algerian journalist Ihsane el-Kadi is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges of receiving foreign funding for the news outlets he manages.
El-Kadi is the director and editor-in-chief of local independent news website Maghreb Emergent and Radio M. He covers politics and human rights, and provides political commentary on Radio M, where he hosts the CPP radio program. On these outlets, as well as on his X account, el-Kadi covered the 2019 uprising in Algeria that resulted in the ouster of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
On December 24, 2022, plainclothes security officers arrested el-Kadi from his home in Boumerdes, east of Algiers, and brought him to Maghreb Emergent and Radio M’s shared headquarters, where they confiscated computers, documents, and shuttered the outlets, according to a statement by Radio M and a local journalist and press freedom advocate who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
The day before his arrest, el-Kadi posted on X expressing doubt about Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s recent announcement that Algeria had recovered $20 billion dollars in an embezzlement case, and discussed Tebboune’s likelihood of serving a second term in a CPP episode on radio M.
On April 2, the Sidi M’hamed Court in Algiers convicted el-Kadi of receiving “foreign funding for his business” and sentenced him to five years in prison, while suspending two years of that sentenced, and fined him 700,000 dinars (US$5,200), according to news reports.
The court also ordered the dissolution of local independent company Interface Media, which owns Maghreb Emergent and Radio M, and fined the company 10 million dinars (US$73,750).
On June 18, an appeals court increased his sentence from five to seven years in prison, with two years of that sentence suspended, according to news reports. On October 12, the Supreme Court upheld the sentence on appeal, which is the final verdict in the case, according to news reports.
El-Kadi is held in el-Harrach prison in Algiers, according to two local journalists who spoke with CPJ via messaging app on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. They said that el-Kadi suffers from epilepsy, but his health appears to be stable.
In October 2023, CPJ emailed the Algerian Ministries of Interior and Justice for comment on el-Kadi’s case but received no response.