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Algeria media figure sentenced to six months in prison

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The director of an Algerian radio station and news website was sentenced to six months in prison Tuesday for reopening the wounds of the country’s devastating 1990s conflict, a rights group said.

Several journalists are in prison or facing trial in Algeria, which ranks 134th out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index.

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Ihsane El-Kadi, director of Radio M and news website Maghreb Emergent, was also fined 50,000 dinars (322 euros), Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights vice president Said Salhi told AFP.

He remains at liberty as the court in Algiers did not issue a warrant for his arrest, Salhi added.

El-Kadi was found guilty of “publishing false information likely to damage national unity” and “reopening the issue of the national tragedy,” Algerian media reported.

He was prosecuted following a complaint from the then communications minister Amar Belhimer over an article he published on the banned Islamist movement Rachad and the pro-democracy protests that have swept Algeria in recent years.

A Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation adopted in 2005 made it an offence punishable by up to five years in prison to discuss Algeria’s “black decade,” the conflict between the army and armed Islamist groups that devastated the country between 1992 and 2002.

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