Algeria: Journalist Ihsane El Kadi’s sentence increased to 7 years on appeal
Algerian journalist Ihsane El Kadi’s sentence has been increased to 7 years on appeal.
Seven years in prison–with the possibility of release only after having served five of them–was the verdict handed down to Algerian journalist Ihsane El Kadi on Sunday. This marks the most severe sentence ever handed down to an Algerian journalist by the appeals court, Khaled Drareni, North Africa representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplored.
For Drareni, it is “a totally incomprehensible verdict”. Ihsane El Kadi is on trial for “foreign financing of his business”. The founder of the Radio M sites and the Maghreb Émergent news site had received from his daughter, who lives in Great Britain, the sum of 25,000 pounds, to pay the salaries of employees and current expenses. This was described by authorities as “foreign financing”.
As during his arrest and trial at first instance, the announcement caused a stir among Algerian journalists. “Ihsane, free man, patriot, great and brilliant journalist, no judgment can alter your image. Shame on those who fabricated the cabal, shame on those who supported it, shame on the pseudo “anti-imperialists” apologists for dictatorships. You are free, Ihsane, free, free, free,” tweeted Saïd Djaafer, the friend with whom he created Maghreb Emergent.
The judges also dissolved Interface Médias, the company of Ihsane El Kadi.
Ihsane El Kadi was apprehended following a complaint made against “Radio M” by Ammar Belhimmer, former Algerian Minister of Communication. El Kadi wrote a paper in March 2021 advocating the Rachad movement’s right to engage in the country’s Hirak (protests) to demand democracy.
Earlier in June, the journalist had been sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of 50,000 Algerian dinars.