Algerian opposition activist Karim Tabbou, a key figure in anti-government protests last year, was given a one-year suspended sentence on Monday for “undermining national security,” one of his lawyers said.
A court in Kolea, near Algiers, also ordered Tabbou to pay a 100,000 dinar (637 euro) fine for the same charge, but it cleared him of the accusation of “damaging the morale of the army,” Nassima Rezazgui told AFP.
Tabbou was one of the most recognizable figures at mass demonstrations that broke out early last year in protest against longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term in office.
The rallies led by the Hirak movement continued well beyond Bouteflika’s April 2019 resignation, and were only suspended when the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Tabbou had not been in custody before or during the trial, and he remains free.
In a separate case, Tabbou had been sentenced on appeal on March 24 to one year in prison, also on the charge of “undermining national security,” a sentence he has already served including time in detention while on trial.
“It is truly unfortunate to convict a person twice on the same charge,” said Rezazgui. “It is against the law. Our struggle continues for the rule of law.”
Tabbou is the leader of a small, unregistered opposition party, the Democratic Social Union (UDS).
The 47-year-old is one of a string of pro-Hirak figures arrested in an ongoing crackdown. His trial had been repeatedly postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.