Algeria intensifies crackdown on dissidents abroad
After quelling peaceful dissent at home, the Algerian military regime multiplied attempts to silence dissidents in exile using intimidation, kidnapping attempts, and harassment.
Earlier this month, three prominent opinion makers Amir DZ, Anouar Malek, and Abdou Semmar all suffered intimidation by the government in a vain attempt to silence them.
They have been active on social media platforms exposing the government’s corruption, power-grab and degradation of living conditions of Algerians using their own sources.
Their activism has disturbed a military regime intent on muzzling free media and manipulating laws to perpetuate the authoritarian status quo.
“Sektouhoum”, “Shut them up!” It is with this magic word with very abrupt consonances that the Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune instructed the security services to take charge of the opponents or activists exiled or settled abroad, who have become a source of annoyance for the Algerian President, reported the news outlet Algérie Part. Actually, the President wishes to silence all protesting voices to prepare for his second presidential term as head of the Algerian state, the outlet commented.
“Sektouhoum”, this instruction was communicated verbally during a meeting at the Presidential Palace by Tebboune, angry and exasperated by the incessant activism of cyber-activists or exiled journalists who continue to criticize his failing, authoritarian and fragile regime.
In this connection, Journalist Abdou Semmar, founder of Algerie Part, was attacked by a gunman who blinded him at first with teargas before running away after passersby intervened and called the police.
Abdou Semmar disturbs the military junta and its civilian puppets by using economic data to alert to the impending collapse of the Algerian economy in the absence of genuine reforms. He also exposed the rampant corruption within the Algerian state-run enterprises.
Another influent journalist and writer, Anouar Malek, was not spared the regime’s heinous and cowardly tactics to silence dissent.
His three brothers were arrested and his 90-year-old father and 80-year-old mother have been intimidated by authorities in reprisal for his videos.
Malek has criticized the repression in Algeria and laid bare the failure of Algerian policies and foreign policy choices in a troubled region.
He recently visited Morocco’s southern provinces, the Sahara, and drew contrasts between the development in that territory and the degradation of living conditions across Algeria where shortages have hit vital goods.
Similarly, Amir DZ -another dissident abroad who disturbed by unveiling corruption and quarrels within the regime- said his family members were attacked and intimidated by authorities.
International rights watchdogs and the US department have drawn a bleak picture of the freedom of speech in Algeria, a state that uses the terrorism charges to silence the peaceful opposition.
Prominent human rights activists estimate the number of political prisoners in Algeria to be higher than 300 including journalists, lawyers, opposition figures, and hirak protesters.
The Algerian regime has also silenced the press sending influential journalists such as Kadi Ihssane to jail for expressing views that criticized the regime.
Besides cracking down on free speech at home, Algeria has imposed a blackout on the situation in the country preventing foreign journalists from freely reporting and rejecting visits by UN human rights delegations.
The rise in cases of disappearances and arbitrary detentions was also highlighted by the US State Department which mentions the ordeal of activist Abdelhamid Bouziza who was kidnapped from his home in Tlemcen on October 19.