Mohamed Mouloudj

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Algerian authorities arrested Mohamed Mouloudj, a reporter for the local independent daily newspaper Liberté, in September 2021 on false news and anti-state charges. 

Mouloudj has worked at Liberté for 10 years covering human rights and political issues including activism in the northern Kabylie region, political prisoners’ trials, and the nationwide anti-government protests since February 2019, according to news reports

On September 12, police officers arrested Mouloudj in the northern city of Tizi Ouzou and raided his home in Algiers later that day, according to a statement by the journalist’s employer, and news reports.

On September 14, the Sidi M’hamed Court in Algiers charged Mouloudj with spreading false news, harming national unity, and belonging to a terrorist group, and ordered his detention pending trial, according to the journalist’s colleague at Liberté, Ali Boukhlef, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app, and news reports.

During the September 14 hearing, the judge questioned Mouloudj about his contact with Ferhat Mehenni, the president of the Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylie (MAK), an opposition group founded in 2003 calling for the autonomy of the Kabylie region, according to Boukhlef. During the hearing Mouloudj said he was in touch with Mehenni for his journalistic work, according to Boukhlef, who told CPJ that he believes Mouloudj’s arrest was in retaliation for his reporting on MAK.

On May 18, 2021, Algerian authorities outlawed the MAK movement as a terrorist organization after accusing it of launching attacks against marchers during the ongoing anti-government protests, according to news reports.

If convicted of spreading false news, Mouloudj could face up to five years in prison; harming national security and belonging to a terrorist group may be punished by the death penalty or life in prison, according to the Algerian Penal Code

Mouloudj is held in Kolea Prison in Tipaza, outside the capital, according to the journalist’s wife, Louiza Kanache Mouloudj, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. She said she is able to visit her husband in prison and that his health appears to be stable.

The Algerian Ministry of Interior did not respond to CPJ’s email requesting comment on Mouloudj’s case in September 2021.