#FreeKhaled: International committee formed to support Khaled Drareni
Journalists, prominent figures from the world of arts and letters and friends of Khaled Drareni, an Algerian journalist detained in his country since 29 March, announce the creation of an international support committee to press for his release. The Committee met virtually for the first time on 23 July to decide what its first actions should be.
Four months have gone by since Drareni was arrested because of his independent reporting. During that time, a well-publicized campaign around the case has grown in Algeria, the Maghreb and the rest of the world. In response to this continuing injustice, friends, colleagues, and well known figures met virtually for the first time on 23 July to launch the committee and decide what its first actions should be.
The goal is to increase the international public’s awareness of this injustice. The following international organizations are represented on the committee : Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Federation of African Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, the International Press Institute, the National organisation of Ivorian investigative journalists, the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT), the Union of international francophone press (UPF).
Drareni is the editor of the Casbah Tribune news website and the Algeria correspondent of both Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and TV5 Monde. Arrested against a backdrop of growing hostility towards journalists in Algeria, he is facing up to ten years in prison on charges of “inciting an unarmed gathering” and “endangering national unity.”
Many Algerian and international organizations issued an initial appeal to the Algerian authorities on 30 April, urging them to free Drareni and end the “targeted harassment of independent media.” On 6 July, the judicial authorities nonetheless transferred the case to a criminal court in the Algiers district of Sidi M’hamed, where his trial is due to begin on 3 August.
List of prominent figures who are members of the support committee:
- Lahouari Addi, sociologist and political scientist, Algeria
- Meziane Abane, journalist and founder of the online media L’Avant-Garde, Algeria
- Pierre Audin, academic and son of anticolonial activist Maurice Audin, France
- Sami Boukhelifa, journalist, France
- Jérôme Bouvier,journalist and founder of the Assises du Journalisme (Journalism
- Michel Cormier, journalist
- Can Dündar, journalist, Turkey
- Mohamed Fadhel Ben Mahfoudh, lawyer and Nobel Peace laureate, Tunisia
- Faouzia Ghiloufi, journalist, Tunisia
- Scott Griffen, head of the International Press Institute, Austria
- Françoise Joly, news director, TV5 Monde, France
- Nacer Kettan, founding president of Beur FM, France
- Seriba Kone, journalist, Ivory Coast
- Jean Kouchner, journalist, France
- Bernard de La Villardière, journalist, France
- Zara Nazarian, secretary general of the International Union of the francophone press (UPF), France
- Christine Ockrent, journalist, France
- Edwy Plenel, journalist and founder of Mediapart, France
List of organizations that are members of the support committee:
- Article 19, United Kingdom
- Committee to Protect Journalists, United States
- Federation of African Journalists
- Human Rights Watch, United States
- Index on Censorship, United Kingdom
- National organisation of Ivorian investigative journalists
- National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT)
- International Union of the francophone press (UPF).