In Algeria, press boss Ihsane el-Kadi sentenced to three years in prison
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The leader of one of the last independent press groups in Algeria, Ihsane el-Kadi, was sentenced on Sunday by the Sidi M’Hamed court to five years in prison, three of which are closed.
Press boss Ihsane el-Kadi, prosecuted in Algeria for “foreign financing of his business”, was sentenced on Sunday April 2 to five years in prison, three of which are closed, announced the court of Sidi M’Hamed in Algiers, which has delivered its verdict in the presence of the accused.
The prosecution had requested five years in prison, accompanied by a ban on practicing for the same period against Ihsane el-Kadi, leader of one of the last independent press groups in Algeria, which includes Radio M and the Maghreb Emergent news site.
The court also pronounced the dissolution of the company Interface Médias, publisher of the two media managed by Ihsane el-Kadi, the confiscation of all its seized assets, and a 10 million dinar fine (more than 68,000 euros) against its company. .
The company was also ordered to compensate the Audiovisual Regulatory Authority (Arav) up to one million dinars). Personally, he was fined 700,000 dinars.
“We are going to appeal this judgment within the required timeframe, according to the prior agreement with our client,” Ms.e Abdelghani Badi, one of the defense lawyers, who boycotted the hearing.
A petition launched
Imprisoned since December 29, Ihsane el-Kadi was accused of “foreign financing of his business”, under article 95 bis of the penal code.
This text provides for a prison sentence of five to seven years for “anyone who receives funds, a gift or an advantage… to perform or incite to perform acts likely to undermine the security of the State, the stability and the normal functioning of its institutions, national unity, territorial integrity”.
Ihsane el-Kadi is suspected “of having received sums of money and privileges from people and organizations in the country and abroad in order to engage in activities likely to undermine security of the State and its stability”, had then indicated the court of Algiers.
At the beginning of January, sixteen press bosses from various countries, including the Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitri Muratov, brought together by RSF, called for his release and the lifting of the “unacceptable” obstacles aimed at his media.
Ihsane el-Kadi was placed in pre-trial detention on December 29 as part of an investigation for illegal fundraising and alleged attack on state security, after four days in police custody. The day after his arrest, the headquarters of the Interface Media agency had been sealed and the equipment seized.
The arrest of Ihsane el-Kadi and the sealing of the media offices he heads sparked a wave of solidarity among his colleagues and human rights activists in Algeria and Europe. A petition launched by the organization Reporters Without Borders to obtain his release has collected more than 10,000 signatures.