Three Algerian activists on hunger strike hospitalized in prison protest

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Three Algerian activists awaiting trial in prison were rushed to hospital Tuesday, 10 days after they began a hunger strike protesting their detention, the CNLD prisoners’ rights group said.

Mohamed Tadjadit, Noureddine Khimoud and Abdelhak Ben Rahmani began their hunger strike in a jail in the capital Algiers on December 27 to protest the extension of their pre-trial detention and denial of bail.


Their lawyer, Meriem Kacimi, confirmed the three had been taken to hospital in Algiers.

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“They are tired but they are now being monitored,” she said. “The doctors are awaiting the results of their tests.”

The three men are activists linked to the long-running Hirak mass protest movement.

They face multiple charges, including damaging national unity, insulting the president, inciting protest and spreading false news – with evidence based on messages and videos posted online – the CNLD said.

Tadjadit and Khimoud, 25, have been in detention since August 2020, arrested the day after taking part in a protest in Algiers.

Thirty-eight-year-old Rahmani was arrested in October.

Tadjadit, 26, dubbed the “poet of Hirak” for verses recited during demonstrations or posted on social media, already served a short jail sentence in 2020 for “undermining the national interest.”

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Algerian authorities have arrested and prosecuted several activists in a bid to stem the Hirak protests.

The Hirak launched vast street demonstrations in early 2019 to oppose then-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term in office.

Following his resignation that April, the Hirak kept up the pressure to demand a full overhaul of the ruling system in place since the North African nation’s 1962 independence from France.

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