May 7, 2019
An Algerian human rights lawyer is facing charges and restrictions on his activities, apparently for exercising his right to free speech, Human Rights Watch said today.
Salah Dabouz, a former president of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), is facing a trial for Facebook posts in which he criticized the prosecution of members of the country’s Mozabite ethnic minority. A court has also ordered him to report three times a week to authorities in Ghardaia, 600 kilometers from his home in Algiers. The Algerian authorities should drop all charges against him that are based solely on the exercise of his free speech rights and end the onerous reporting requirement.
“Algerian authorities should stop using repressive laws and crippling sign-in orders intended to shut down criticism of their conduct,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Police in Algiers arrested Dabouz on April 7, 2019 and transported him the same day to Ghardaia, where judges of the first instance court notified him of two pending cases related to his Facebook posts. The judges released him provisionally but placed him under judicial control, obliging him to sign in twice a week at the court. Later in April, they increased the reporting requirement to three times a week, Dabouz told Human Rights Watch.
Dabouz said that he faces a total of 14 counts.