European Parliament passes resolution on deteriorating situation of human rights in Algeria

The European Parliament has passed a resolution on “the deteriorating situation of human rights in Algeria.” The resolution focused on the imprisonment of journalist Mohamed Khaled Drareni.  Through this resolution, the European Parliament condemned “the escalation of arbitrary and unlawful arrests, detentions, and judicial harassment of journalists, human rights defenders, trade unionists, lawyers, civil society, and peaceful activists in Algeria.”

The arrests and detentions mentioned by Parliament occurred during protests by the Hirak movement after the presidential election of . Drareni, one of many arrested journalists, was sentenced to “three years in prison and fined 50,000 Algerian dinars for filming police attacking demonstrators in Algiers.” The government has formally charged Drareni with “inciting and unarmed gathering” and “undermining the integrity of national territory.”

The European Parliament stated Thursday that the “political arrests and arbitrary detention of peaceful Hirak and trade union activists” violated the “fundamental rights to a fair trial and due process of law.” Additionally, the parliament condemned the increasing censorship and the alleged use of COVID-19 control measures to “hamper freedom of speech and expression.” The resolution further addressed “allegations of torture being [practiced] in police stations.”According to the European Parliament, “local rights groups estimate that at least 200 people were subjected to arbitrary and arrest [between March and June] for expressing their opinion or for alleged support to the Hirak movement.”

The resolution calls on the Algerian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release Mohamed Khaled Drareni and all those detained and charged for exercising their right to freedom of expression . . . and to freedom of assembly and association.” The resolution further calls on the Algerian authorities to end “any form of intimidation, judicial harassment, [criminalization] or arbitrary arrest and detention.” Among various other calls and concerns, the European Parliament urged the Algerian authorities to “allow international human rights [organizations] and the UN Special Procedures access to the country.”

Read original article here.