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.
“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.”
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.