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June 18, 2005


Bouteflika01133x198 The crackdown on freedom of the press in Algeria by the corrupt regime of President Bouteflika (left) is stepping up the pace. Under the title, "A Black Week for the Algerian Press," the daily e-bulletin of the French weekly Nouvel Observateur reports today that, on Tuesday, a journalist for the daily Le Soir d'Algerie -- Kamel Amarni -- was condemned to six months in prison for "offense against the chief of state," a new crime pushed through as an amendment to the penal code by Bouteflika four years ago; and the editor-in-chief of the paper, Fouad Bouaghanem, was given two months in prison for publishing Amarni's article. In addition, the imposed a fine of some $150,000 on the paper, as well as fines on the two imprisoned journalists.

At the same time, a cartoonist for the daily Liberte -- who signsAlgeria  himself Dilem -- was given six months in prison for the cartoon at right, on a complaint lodged by the Algerian Minister of Defense, for "defamation of the army." In the cartoon, entitled "Telethon," One monkey says, "It seems there are even generals who are making gifts" -- and the other replies, "You shouldn't call them 'gifts,' you should call them 'restitutions.'" The generals who run the army -- the real political power in Algeria -- are notoriously corrupt.

Benchicou2_1 Meanwhile Mohamed Benachou (left) -- editor of the daily Le Matin, whose case was previously mentioned on this blog -- is still behind bars, serving a two-year sentence, and is gravely ill and in deteriorating health; two other Le Matin journalists -- Abla Chérif et Hassane Zerrouky -- are in jail for three months for writing a story about corruption by the Minister of Eneregy  and Mines. And another duo from Le Matin -- Youcef Rezzoug et Yasmine Ferroukhi -- are likewise under lock and key for exposing corruption in the State's attribution of mobile phone concessions. Is it any wonder Le Matin has not published since last November?

All this is taking place, of course, to the complete indifference of the Bush administration. The Bushies see the Algerian army as an ally against the Muslim fundamentalists -- the White House admires the way the army so efficiently slaughtered the fundamentalists when they rebelled against cancellation by the army of parliamentary elections they were going win, a decade ago. This unleashed a civil war that cost 100,000 Algerian dead, mostly innocent civilians. Just dandy, according to Condi Rice and the NSC's Elliot Abrams, the convicted criminal from the Iran-Contra scandals who's in charge of the Algerian dossier, who in private vaunt the anti-fundamentalist merits of the sanguineous, money-grubbing Algerian generals. By closing its eyes to President Bouteflika's repressions in the name of the "war on terrorism", the Bush administration is giving a fine example of what it means by "spreading democracy" in the Arab world.

For more information on these cases, visit the English-language website of the Paris-based international organization for the defense of journalists, Reporters Without Borders.

Posted by Direland at 12:12 PM | Permalink


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Yes, Journalist cares about them selfs, real Democracy was always watched over by those how care about it, JOURNALIST and AUTHORS in general.
Many thanks.

Posted by: Fares Rachdi | Sep 21, 2005 1:49:15 PM

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