The Constantine court in Algeria sentenced Algerian opposition figure Amira Bouraoui in absentia to 10 years in prison, while journalist Mustapha Bendjama received a six-month sentence.
The Constantine court, located in the northeast of Algeria, handed down a 10-year prison sentence in absentia against Franco-Algerian opponent Amira Bouraoui. Another verdict sentenced journalist Mustapha Bendjama to six months in prison.
Amira Bouraoui, aged 46 and with medical training, was tried for “illegal exit from the territory”. She crossed the border between Algeria and Tunisia on February 3, defying an exit ban. She was arrested in Tunis while trying to reach Paris. On February 6, she managed to fly to France despite an attempt by Tunisian authorities to send her back to Algeria. Amira Bouraoui’s flight caused diplomatic tensions between France and Algeria, which were finally resolved in March.
A committed activist, Amira Bouraoui made herself known in 2014 by opposing the fourth term of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika through the “Barakat” movement. She then joined the “Hirak” protest movement and worked for the independent radio station Radio M.
The Constantine court also issued other verdicts related to this case. Ali Takaida, a border police agent, was sentenced to three years in prison, and Amira Bouraoui’s mother, Khadidja, aged 71, received a one-year suspended prison sentence. The charges against the co-defendants included “constitution of a criminal association, illegal exit from the national territory, and the organization of illegal immigration by an organized criminal network”.
Mustapha Bendjama, for his part, was arrested on February 8 in the premises of the French-speaking newspaper Le Provincial, located in Annaba, where he worked as editor-in-chief. In October, he had already been sentenced to 20 months in prison, including eight months, in another case, alongside Algerian-Canadian researcher Raouf Farrah.