Cairo: 11 December 2019

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns today the enforceable one-year prison sentence issued, yesterday (Tuesday) evening, by the Court of Oran in Algeria against university professor and human rights defender Kaddour Chouicha, after setting up an ambush to arrest him in a police department.

On Monday night, 9 December 2019, human rights activist Kaddour Chouicha, who is also the president of the Oran section of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), received a phone call from the Algerian security forces asking him to come to retrieve his phone, which was confiscated about a month ago, when he was arrested -along with other people-at Madiouni district and detained for several hours before he was released later on.

When “Chouicha” went to the police department yesterday morning, he was surprised that he was detained and went under investigation over allegations of “carrying leaflets and documents harmful to the national interest”, in what looks like an ambush or a trap to arrest him. The matter didn’t stop here; as it was decided to bring him to trial yesterday evening, Tuesday, 10 December, on charges of “showing contempt and violence against government officials and institutions, and holding documents harmful to the public interest”. Consequently, he received an enforceable verdict to imprison him for one year.

ANHRI said: “The ruling issued against Kaddour Chouicha in this way, on the occasion of the celebration of the International Human Rights Day, constitutes evidence of the Algerian authorities’ hostility to human rights and manifests their attempts to terrorize human rights defenders. It also represents a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression.”

ANHRI calls on the Algerian authorities to immediately release academic and human rights activist Kaddour Chouicha, respect the constitution and its international obligations, and stop targeting human rights defenders.