Algeria journalist beaten, humiliated after arrest covering demos

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A journalist arrested last week as he covered Algeria’s weekly anti-regime demonstration said on Monday that he was beaten, insulted and humiliated for eight hours.

Mustapha Bendjama, editor-in-chief of local daily Le Provincial, told AFP he was slapped and punched by members of police intelligence last Friday in the northeastern town of Annaba.

He was insulted at the same time although he had put up no resistance to his arrest.

At the police station, he was strip-searched and detained for eight hours during which he was interrogated about his telephone communications.

Algerians have been holding massive protests since February when an ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced plans to seek a fifth term in office.

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The veteran leader resigned in April as pressure against him to quit mounted from all sides, only hours after close ally and army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah demanded impeachment proceedings against him.

Although Gaid Saleh has ordered a wave of anti-corruption investigations, demonstrators have kept up calls for his departure along with the entire regime that surrounded Bouteflika.