August 5, 2021

In Algeria, Sadedine Merzoug, a judge who did not want to be silent

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Two weeks after his radiation, Sadedine Merzoug has lost none of its bite. The now ex-judge had known he had been in the sights of the Algerian Supreme Judicial Council (CSM) for a while. The sanction pronounced by his peers on May 30 after a hearing of several hours did not surprise him, he says. It was not the first time that the jet-haired thirty-something, spokesperson for the Club of Free Magistrates, an independent organization created three years before the Hirak, the popular movement of February 22, 2019, came before the council. of discipline.

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In recent months, his supporters have not ceased to denounce a relentlessness against this magistrate who has been the subject of five disciplinary cases since the start of the Hirak and risks criminal prosecution. Behind these harassments hides the hand of the Keeper of the Seals, Belkacem Zeghmati, believe his lawyers.

“It is clear, disciplinary action belongs to the Minister of Justice. It is he who orders the opening of an investigation, the referral and who makes the requisitions before the Superior Council of the Magistracy ”, explains Me Abdelhak Mellah, one of the four councils of Sadedine Merzoug. “For the latest cases, the main accusation concerns around 40 Facebook posts and statements to the press. So these are cases related to the right of expression in general ”, specifies this former prosecutor.

Freedom of tone

To his guardianship who reproaches him “A breach of the obligation of reserve”, Judge Merzoug replies that it has never been synonymous with ” obligation to be silent ”. It must be said that his freedom of tone contrasts with the silence observed by this corporation which has always suffered from a bad image within public opinion.

« It is the first time in the history of Algerian justice that a judge is acclaimed in the street ”, relieves Me Mellah. In Algeria and abroad, protesters have repeatedly claimed the independence of the judiciary by displaying the portraits of the magistrate on the eve of his various presentations to the CSM and even going so far as to post his photo in front of the High Commission. of the United Nations for Human Rights, in Geneva, on May 29.

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