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AFP
March 30, 2020

Algeria journalist jailed in pre-trial detention

World

AFP
March 30, 2020

.ALGIERS: An Algerian journalist was Sunday ordered to be held in pre-trial detention, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and rights organisations said.

"Our correspondent in Algeria, Khaled Drareni, has been incarcerated," RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire wrote on Twitter. "We will fight against this unfair and arbitrary decision," he added.

Drareni was arrested on March 7 while covering an anti-government protest, accused of "inciting an unarmed gathering and damaging national integrity". He was released three days later but re-arrested on Friday evening.

RSF has condemned what it called the "shameless use" of the coronavirus epidemic "by the Algerian regime to settle scores with free and independent journalism". Prisoners´ rights group CNLD said on Facebook that Drareni appeared Sunday before a prosecutor in an Algiers court in the presence of defence lawyers, adding that he was in good health.

Souhaieb Khayati, RSF´s North Africa chief, told AFP that Drareni was being held in the capital´s El Harrach prison under "preventive detention until a trial date has been set". Drareni is also the founder of the Casbah Tribune website and Algeria correspondent for international French-language channel TV5 Monde. He has been arrested several times for covering "Hirak" anti-government protests that had been held in the capital Algiers every Friday since February 2019.