Bendjama was arrested at the newspaper on the afternoon of 22 October by four plainclothes policemen, who took his computer’s central storage unit. RSF has been told that he will be brought before an investigating judge in the next few days but the charges against him are not yet known.
Since the start of a wave of protests in Algeria in late February, Bendjama has been questioned several times by the security services in Annaba, his home town. The authorities accuse him of expressing support for the demonstrators, who are demanding political change.
“We condemn Mustapha Bendjama’s arrest and we call on the Algerian authorities to release him at once and to stop obstructing the work of journalists covering the protests,” said Souhaieb Khayati, the head of RSF’s North Africa desk.
Since late February, RSF has registered more than ten cases of journalists being arrested in connection with their coverage of the constant demonstrations in Algerian cities.
Algeria is ranked 141st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.