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Algeria: Hassan Bouras Released after 3 Months in Pretrial Detention
Hassan Bouras was released on 18 January 2016 after spending the last three months in pretrial detention in El Bayadh prison in Western Algeria. This 48-year-old journalist and human rights defender was arrested at his home in El Bayadh on 2 October. His release follows the decision of the investigating judge to refer his case to the Criminal Court of El Bayadh. Bouras is nevertheless still accused of insulting the President and the military institution.
A leading member of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), Hassan is known for his political stances critical of the government, particularly on social networks. He is also a founding member of the Jabhat al-RaFD (the Rejection Front), an initiative of Algerian political and human rights activists for peaceful change in Algeria. Due to his fight against corruption and poor administrative management in the Wilaya (province) of El Bayadh, he has been suffering from persecution and systematic judicial harassment since 2003. On 4 October 2015, the prosecutor of El Bayadh accused him of "undermining an official State body" and "inciting to bear arms against the State," the latter having since then been dropped.
Concerned about Bouras' arbitrary arrest, which clearly resulted from the free exercise of his right to freedom of expression, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal on 5 October 2015 to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders (SR HRD).
Alkarama welcomes the release of Hassan Bouras and requests again the intervention of the SR HRD to remind the Algerian authorities of their international obligations and call upon them to drop all charges against him. The judicial persecutions currently suffered by human rights activists and journalists in Algeria are still of concern and constitute a clear violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by Algeria in 1989, which states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions."
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