RSF’s Algeria correspondent, Khaled Drareni, to be retried
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Algeria’s prosecutors to drop all proceedings against its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, after the country’s supreme court today accepted his lawyer’s appeal without overturning his conviction, in effect ordering a retrial.
The supreme court’s decision was issued exactly one year after a court issued a detention order for Drareni, who is also the French TV channel TV5 Monde’s correspondent and the editor of the Algiers-based Casbah Tribune news website.
“This is a victory with a bitter taste, after 11 months of arbitrary detention,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We regret that the Algerian supreme court did not terminate Khaled Drareni’s prosecution and we call on the prosecutor’s office to drop the proceedings against him at once.”
Drareni was arrested for the first time on 7 March 2020. Released two days later, he remained under judicial control for 15 days and was finally re-arrested on 29 March 2020 while covering one of the regular “Hirak” anti-government street protests. Held in Kolea prison, near Algiers, he was put on trial and was sentenced on 15 September 2020 to two years in prison on charges of “inciting an unauthorised demonstration” and “endangering state security.” He was released provisionally under a presidential pardon on 19 February 2021.
Algeria is ranked 146th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.