More than 30 prisoners of conscience in Algeria were released on Friday after a presidential pardon was granted for three days on the 2nd anniversary of the Hirak uprising.
“So far, a total of 33 people have been released. Otherwise, there are proceedings,” said a statement by the Ministry of Justice without giving their names.
According to the latest CNLD figures prior to these releases, around 70 people have been arrested in connection with hirak and / or individual freedoms.
Photos and videos shared on social networks showed prisoners reuniting with their relatives in several regions, including those held at the Koléa Penitentiary Center near Algiers.
A “preliminary release” for Khaled Drareni
Among them is the journalist Khaled Drareni, who has become a symbol of the struggle for press freedom in Algeria and was sentenced to two years in prison last September for “instigating unarmed gatherings” and “undermining national unity”. “I thank everyone who supported me and who supported the prisoners of conscience, because your support is essential for all of us and the proof of our innocence,” the 40-year-old journalist responded after his release in a video that was forwarded became Twitter.
He appeared on social media images carried by a crowd of followers. Khlad Drareni, correspondent in Algeria for the TV5 broadcaster Monde and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), had reported on the unprecedented protest movement Hirak, in particular on his reports on social networks, before the demonstrations over the Covid-19 pandemic stopped.
According to one of his lawyers, Abdelghani Badi, it is a “temporary release” measure. The journalist is awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court on February 25 on his appeal in cassation.
His convictions had sparked outrage in Algeria and abroad.