Outrage, Condemnation after Death of Journalist on Hunger Strike in Algeria

British-Algerian journalist Mohamed Tamalt passed away in coma following a hunger strike that he started in July 2006 after being jailed for sharing a poem about the Algerian President on Facebook.

Tamalt was handed a two-year jail term on charges of “offending the president” and “defaming a public authority,” accusations that are typical of authoritarian states that violate freedom of expression.

The death of the freelance journalist and blogger stirred the condemnation and outrage of international rights watchdogs. “The Algerian authorities’ prosecution of Mohamed Tamalt symbolizes their determination to punish peaceful dissent,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International urged Algerian authorities on Sunday to open an “independent and transparent investigation into the

“Why was there such a conviction just for words on Facebook which did no harm to anyone?” said Yasmine Kacha, head of the North Africa department of Reporters without Borders.

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