Algerian press freedom advocate and journalist Khaled Drareni, who was arrested on 7 March while covering a peaceful protest in Algiers, was released on 10 March but placed under judicial review. Drareni, who is a correspondent of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), was accused of “harming national unity” and of “unarmed gathering” after having reported on a demonstration organized by the Hirak movement, a popular mass protest that started back in February 2019 and forced the ousting of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who ruled the country for 20 years. Other prominent human rights activists that participated in the protest, such as Samir Benlarbi and Slimane Hamitouche, were arrested over the same charges and are now under preventive detention. Amnesty International condemned the arrests and demanded that Algerian authorities should “release all peaceful protesters who have been detained solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly”.
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