Reporters Without Borders is outraged by yesterday’s appeal court decision to uphold a two-year jail sentence for 47-year-old computer scientist Youcef Ould Dada for posting a video showing three policemen committing a robbery during inter-communal clashes in Ghardaïa province.
Held since 27 March, Dada received the sentence from a court in the city of Ghardaïa (600 km south of Algiers) on 10 June on a charge of “publishing photos and videos that affect national interest.” He was also fined 100,000 dirhams (about 930 euros).
Posted on his Facebook page, the video showed policemen robbing a shop in El Guerrara, a town 115 km northeast of Ghardaïa, during violent unrest in the town in November 2013. Dada said he did not shoot the video himself.
“By upholding such a severe and absurd sentence for a member of the public, the Algerian state wants to send a tough message to all those who might be tempted to denounce police abuses,” Reporters Without Borders assistant research director Virginie Dangles said.
“The video posted by Dada was broadcast by the commercial TV station Ennahar and was reposted by other people on social networks without anyone else being questioned or charged. The policemen who carried out the robbery were not charged either, although they were easily identifiable in the video.”
The Algerian Human Rights League (LADDH) has announced that it will appeal against yesterday’s ruling to the Court of Cassation.