The two journalists were placed in provisional detention yesterday by an investigating judge in the Algiers district of Bir Mourad Raïs.
In a case dating back to November 2019, they are accused of working without accreditation for a foreign TV channel, receiving illegal funding and (under article 96 of the criminal code) endangering national interest.
Reporters for foreign media must be accredited in Algeria. But in a letter posted on the Casbah Tribune news website yesterday, shortly before his arrest, Kaci reports that he complied to the letter when the authorities told him he could “no longer work without accreditation.” He says he ceased to be France 24’s correspondent “because I no longer worked in the field, because I complied with the instructions.”
When reached by RSF, Kaci’s lawyer, Omar Baahmed, said the case was politically motivated. “These two journalists have been deprived of their freedom because they are news providers,” he said. “Their journalistic work is the sole reason for the judicial proceedings against them.”
“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Moncef Aït Kaci and Ramdane Rahmouni,” said Souhaieb Khayati, the director of RSF’s North Africa desk. “The provisional detention of these two journalists follows that of RSF’s own correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been held for the past four months and is due to be tried on 3 August. It speaks to a vicious cycle of repression in Algeria, in which new, equally arbitrary, measures serve to mask previous ones.”
Algeria is ranked 146th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.