Ihsane el-Kadi, 63, saw his sentence increased on Sunday, on appeal to seven years in prison, including five years closed by the Algiers Court of Appeal. At the beginning of April, the press boss had been sentenced at first instance to five years in prison, three of which were closed for “foreign financing of his business”.
The Algiers Court of Appeal increased, on Sunday June 18, a sentence imposed on the press boss Ihsane el-Kadi, by condemning him to seven years in prison, including five years in prison, announced the representative for South Africa. North of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Khaled Drareni.
At first instance, Ihsane el-Kadi, prosecuted for “foreign financing of his business”, was sentenced on April 2 to five years in prison, including three years in prison.
“A totally incomprehensible verdict,” wrote RSF representative Khaled Drareni on Twitter, announcing the court’s decision on appeal.
During the appeal trial held on June 4, the public prosecutor had requested confirmation of the conviction at first instance of the press boss.
Imprisoned since December 29
Aged 63, Ihsane el-Kadi, leader of one of the last private and independent press groups in Algeria – which includes Radio M and the news site Maghreb Emergent – has been imprisoned since December 29.
His arrest sparked a wave of solidarity among his colleagues and human rights activists in Algeria and Europe.
Ihsane el-Kadi is accused “of having received sums of money and privileges from persons and organizations in the country and abroad in order to engage in activities likely to undermine security of the State and its stability”, had then indicated the Court of Algiers.
Justice had also pronounced the dissolution of his company Interface Medias and the confiscation of all his property seized in addition to the fines against him and his companies.
In a resolution adopted on May 11, the European Parliament demanded the “immediate and unconditional release” of the press boss and called on the Algerian authorities to respect media freedom.
The Algerian Parliament had reacted to this position, describing it as “flagrant interference in the affairs of a sovereign country”. He had expressed his “categorical rejection” of the text “full of terrible untruths” voted by MEPs.
Algeria is in 136th place out of 180 countries in the world press freedom ranking established by RSF in 2023.
Source: France 24