Algerian President Abdemadjid Tebboune has ordered the release of young detainees imprisoned for having called or taken part in demonstrations as part of the Hirak protest movement, according to a press release from the Ministry of Justice published on the evening of Sunday, July 4. This leniency measure is traditional every year on the eve of the anniversary of Algeria’s independence (July 5, 1962).
“On the occasion of the 59e Independence and Youth Day anniversary […], the President of the Republic, Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has decreed enlargement measures for the benefit of young people who are criminally prosecuted and who are in detention for having committed acts linked to gatherings and other related acts ”, indicates the press release. Eighteen prisoners were released on Sunday evening and “The operation continues for the others”, adds the press release, released by the official APS agency. The Ministry of Justice did not specify the number of detainees concerned.
More than 300 people are currently in prison in connection with Hirak and / or individual freedoms, according to the National Committee for the Liberation of Prisoners (CNLD). The majority of them are young people arrested in the weeks leading up to the legislative elections of June 12.
Determined to break the Hirak, the power has de facto banned its demonstrations and stepped up arrests and legal proceedings targeting its activists, political opponents, academics and journalists. More than 80 Algerian and international NGOs recently appealed to the UN Human Rights Council about this “Repressive escalation” and of “The relentless criminalization of fundamental freedoms”.
Born in February 2019 from the popular rejection of a fifth presidential term of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Hirak, a peaceful movement without real leadership, calls for a radical change in the system of governance in place since independence, so far in vain .