Update - Algerian political activist Abdellah Benaoum was freed today following his appeal before the Court of Relizane. On 6 June 2012, he was sentenced by the Rélizane court to six months in prison for having attended a trial to support demonstrators charged in front of the court.
Algeria: Political Activist from Rélizane sentenced to six months in Prison
28 June 2012
On 28 May 2012, Abdellah Benaoum was arrested in the Oued Rhiou courtroom in Rélizane while he was attending the trial of a group of demonstrators in front of the correctional court. These demonstrators had been arrested a few days earlier for having organized a peaceful rally in Oued Rhiou to protest their poor standard of living, the chronic unemployment, and the contempt for them shown by the authorities. Abdellah Benaoum had filmed the gathering and interviewed them before posting the videos
on the internet.
The 47 year-old activist was arrested under the accusation of having attempted to film the trial in the courtroom. Though he did indeed have his camera on a shoulder strap, he certainly did not film any of the 28 May hearing nor even of the interior of the court. Abdellah's camera, which was confiscated by the police, did not contain any photos or videos of the courtroom.
The prosecutor, having been unable to bring evidence that Abdellah had filmed the hearing, he felt obliged to continue to prosecute him for attempting to film. The activist, who was charged in front of Oued Rhiou's correctional court and was sentenced to six months in prison, is detained today at Rélizane prison.
Awaiting his appeal before the court, Abdellah Benaoum undertook a hunger strike in protest at this sentence which is clearly a result of his activism and his use of the right to freedom of expression.
Alkarama today submitted his case to the United Nation's human rights mechanisms and joins his family in expressing serious concerns over his state of health. Our organization calls for the Algerian authorities to put an end to the persecution of activists who call for the respect of their civil and political liberties and for peaceful change in the country