RSF refers Algerian journalist’s imprisonment to United Nations
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has referred Algeria’s persecution of Ihsane El Kadi, the director of Radio M and Maghreb Émergent, to the United Nations. Subjected to judicial harassment for the past three years, he was arrested on 24 December and transferred to prison five days later in a final attempt to silence Algeria’s last independent media outlets.
In a letter sent on 3 January, RSF asks the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan, to intercede as a matter of urgency in El Kadi’s detention.
The letter points out that El Kadi’s arrest on 24 December came just days after he published articles critical of the authorities, which clearly shows that his arrest was politically motivated with the aim of gagging independent media outlets providing a platform to free speech defenders.
“We ask the UN Special Rapporteur to urgently call on the authorities to respect their international and constitutional obligations. The United Nations must demand Ihsane El Kadi’s immediate release and the complete withdrawal of the spurious proceedings brought against him with the sole aim of reducing him to silence.
RSF already called on the Algerian authorities to stop their judicial harassment of El Kadi a month ago. Sentenced to six months in prison in June 2022, he remained free pending the outcome of his appeal, which was repeatedly postponed. His arrest represents a dramatic escalation in the intimidation to which he has been subjected in violation of Algeria’s constitution, which enshrines freedom of opinion.
As a result of the constant increase in threats, intimidation and judicial harassment of its journalists, Algeria is ranked 134th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index.