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US News Drareni affair: the Algerian president accuses RSF of wanting to "destabilize" the country

15:05  21 september  2020
15:05  21 september  2020 Source:   ouest-france.fr

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Abdelmadjid Tebboune accuse RSF de vouloir « destabiliser » l’Algérie dans l’affaire Drareni. © RYAD KRAMDI / AFP Abdelmadjid Tebboune accuses RSF of wanting to "destabilize" Algeria in the Drareni affair.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune points the finger at the NGO in the Drareni case. For him, RSF seeks to “undermine the stability” of the country.

Algerian President accused Reporters Without Borders (RSF) , which launched an international campaign of solidarity in favor of his imprisoned correspondent Khaled Drareni, of wanting to "destabilize" Algeria.

Algeria is "targeted" by NGOs which try to "undermine the stability of the country" , Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Sunday evening during a meeting with two representatives of the Algerian written press.

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"The States are not attacking us head-on but entrusting non-governmental organizations with this mission", accused, asked about the fate of journalist Khaled Drareni, founder of the online news site Casbah Tribune, correspondent in Algeria for the French television channel TV5 Monde and RSF.

Sentenced to 2 years in prison

Become the symbol of the fight for freedom of the press in Algeria, Khaled Drareni, 40, was sentenced on September 15 on appeal to two years in prison for "incitement to unarmed gathering ” and “ undermining national unity ”. This verdict has sparked outrage and strong protests in Algeria and beyond.

By targeting Robert Ménard, former secretary general of RSF who left the NGO since 2008, Abdelmadjid Tebboune affirmed that if RSF had "respectable journalists" , it was however "inadmissible to name a settler's son who is trying each time to give lessons to Algerians, hence the importance of investigating the founders of these organizations as well as the modalities of their funding ”. Robert Ménard is now mayor of Béziers, France, supported by the Rassemblement national.

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The Algerian president also assured that "no person is imprisoned (in Algeria) for an article that he wrote" . "We prohibit insults and attacks on matters relating to state security" , he nevertheless qualified.

According to the Algerian president, Khaled Drareni, whose name he never mentioned during the interview, was sentenced because he is "involved in a case having no relation to the press" , without any other precision.

Arrested after a demonstration

Detained since March 29, Khaled Drareni was arrested after covering on March 7, in Algiers, a student demonstration, as part of the “Hirak”, a peaceful protest movement born in February 2019 demanding a profound change of the "system" in place since independence in 1962.

He is also accused of having criticized on Facebook "corruption and money" of the political system, according to RSF . Communication Minister Ammar Belhimer accuses the journalist of having worked without a professional press card, and of being on the payroll "foreign embassies" .

"His continued detention is proof of the regime's confinement in a logic of absurd, unjust and violent repression," denounced the secretary general of RSF, Christophe Deloire, after the journalist’s conviction on appeal.

Algeria is in 146th place (out of 180) in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

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