Algeria: Prominent Hirak leader sentenced to one year in prison

A leading figure in the popular uprising in Algeria, also known as Hirak, was sentenced Tuesday to one year in prison in a trial denounced by his defense who was not informed about the hearing.

Karim Tabbou, a political activist, in prison since September was summoned in court in capital Algiers Tuesday.

The prosecution charged him with undermining national unity. He was sentenced to six months in prison and an additional six-month suspended sentence.

His lawyers and the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) expect him to be freed on March 26 for time served since he was detained in September, reports say.

His defense Tuesday said he was dragged into an announced trial though he was sick and could not talk. Abdelghani Badi, member of his defense team, said the activist suffered from a stroke and lost the use of some limbs.

The lawyer also indicated that they were not informed beforehand of the trial. Badi argued that the verdict was rendered while Tabbou was taken away to receive treatment.

“The judge didn’t want to listen, and withdrew to deliberate,” Amine Sidhom, another member of the defense told AFP.

“When he got out, he announced a sentence of a year in prison.”

Tabbou is among the leading public figures of the popular uprising that has rocked the North African country since February last year when thousands of Algerians rose up against the autocratic regime.

Despite the presidential elections held in December, bringing to power Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the movement continued until last week when the President banned all gatherings and demonstrations on the grounds of the fight against Covid-19, which has killed 21 people and infected 302 people.

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