Algerian prosecutors are seeking an 18-month prison sentence against journalist Rabah Kareche for spreading “false news,” one of his lawyers said Monday as his appeal trial opened.
The verdict will be announced on October 11, Zoubida Assoul told AFP after the hearing in the southern city of Tamanrasset.
Kareche, of the daily newspaper Liberte, was sentenced on August 12 to eight months behind bars plus four months suspended, for “spreading false information liable to damage public order.”
He was also accused of posting reports that could trigger “segregation and hatred within society.”
Kareche was arrested in April after reporting that the Tuareg, a Berber minority who have long complained of economic and social marginalization, had protested over “expropriation” of their historical lands.
His detention triggered protests from fellow journalists, especially after President Abdelmadjid Tebboune described Kareche as an “arsonist” in an interview before his sentencing.
Kareche is one of several Algerian journalists currently behind bars.
They include his colleague Mohamed Mouloudj, detained last month for “belonging to a terrorist organization” and “spreading false information.”
Another journalist, Hassan Bouras, was also detained last month for “belonging to a terrorist organization” and “glorifying terrorism” among other crimes, his lawyers said.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranked Algeria 146th out of 180 countries and territories in its 2021 World Press Freedom Index.