EuroMed Rights raises concerns over the arrest of journalist Adlène Mellah in Algeria

Alerts, Algeria, Justice and the Rule of Law

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Alert

Brussels, 19 November 2018

 

The request for the provisional release of journalist Adlène Mellah was rejected by the Algiers Criminal Court on 11 November. Once again, this is an infringement on the  freedom of the press, despite the fact that it is enshrined in the Algerian Constitution (article 50).

The arrest of Adlène Mellah, Director of the Algeria Direct and Dzaïr Presse news sites, took place on 22 October 2018, the day Algeria celebrated National Press Day.  He was detained following complaints against him for  publishing articles on Dzaïr Presse.

Adlène Mellah faces multiple charges including: “recording or taking pictures without authorization or consent”, “insulting institutions” and “invasion of privacy”, and could cost him up to five years in prison.

Mellah is not an isolated case, for example two other journalists Abdou Semmar, Director of the Algeria Part news site, and his collaborator Merouane Boudiab, were victims of the wave of arrests targeting online press journalists. Both journalists were arrested on 23 October 2018, for the same reasons, and were subsequently released on 8 November 2018.

Following Mellah’s health deterioration, EuroMed Rights calls for his immediate release and joins his lawyers in challenging the decision of the criminal court, recalling the unconstitutionality of prosecuting journalists for their writings.