In a grim milestone for press freedom in Algeria, Rabah Karèche today completes his 100th day in pre-trial detention in connection with his reporting in the southern city of Tamanrasset, where he is the newspaper Liberté's correspondent. Karèche should be freed at once and all charges against him should be dropped, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says.
Karèche has been held ever since arrest on 19 April in connection with three articles about protests against a decree changing provincial boundaries in the region surrounding Tamanrasset.
For these articles, he was charged with "creating an electronic account dedicated to spreading information likely to cause segregation and hatred in society," "deliberately spreading false information likely to endanger public order," and "using various means to undermine national security and unity."
"We again urge the Algerian authorities to release Rabah Karèche, a journalist who was just doing his job to report the news," said Souhaieb Khayati, the head of RSF's North Africa desk. "Journalism is guaranteed by Algeria's constitution and should not be silenced."
While Karèche remained in pre-trial detention, an investigating judge took until 15 July to complete the investigation and transfer his case to the criminal court in Tamanrasset, which is finally due to try him on 5 August. He is facing up to ten years in prison on the three charges.
Algeria has fallen 27 places in RSF's World Press Freedom Index since 2015 and is ranked 146th out of 180 countries in the 2021 Index.