Journalist Ihsane El

Facebook Journalist Ihsane El-Kadi, a long-time contributor to HuffPost Maghreb, was arrested by Algerian authorities and remanded in custody. Many voices are raised to denounce a political arrest aimed at censoring the press critical of power.


Journalist Ihsane El-Kadi, a long-time contributor to HuffPost Maghreb, was arrested by Algerian authorities and remanded in custody. Many voices are raised to denounce a political arrest aimed at censoring the press critical of power.

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – A critical voice that we seek to silence. On the night of December 23 to 24, the journalist Algerian Ihsane El-Kadi, collaborater for six years from HuffPost Maghreb, was arrested by the Algerian General Directorate of Internal Security. Since then, his police custody has been extended and his relatives have no prospect of finding him.

At HuffPost, a source in Algiers confirms this Thursday, December 29 that an examining magistrate has decided to place Ihsane El-Kadi under a warrant of committal. And that five days after the arrest, the charges against the journalist have finally communicated. Ihsane El-Kadi is thus accused of having received funds ” to perform or incite to perform acts likely to undermine the security of the State, the stability and the normal functioning of its institutions, the national unity, the territorial integrity, the fundamental interests of Algeria or security and public order “. Elements which can correspond, in view of the habits of Algiers, to the simple fact of exercising one’s profession as a journalist. He faces for this between five and seven years in prison, and is liable to a fine equivalent to 3,000 to 5,000 euros.

In response to this detention, Reporters Without Borders lamentedby the voice of journalist Khaled Drareni, “ the culmination of a long persecution and an endless judicial harassment whose obvious objective is to silence one of the last Algerian media still open to free debate and criticism “. And to add that it is a ” heavy message to those who continue to defend the freedom to inform “.

Premises under seal and media shut down

At first, the authorities did not state the charges against Ihsane El-Kadi. This did not prevent the DGSI from putting the forms for the arrest of the reporter. As related The crossno less than six men were sent in the middle of the night to pick up the journalist at his family residence before taking him to the Antar barracks, a place infamous for having sheltered for years the armed wing of political repression and internal intelligence in the country.

What makes Tin Hinane El-Kadi, the daughter of the man who runs the web radio “Radio M” and the economic media, say Emerging Maghrebthat the arrest of his father is eminently Politics “, as she has explained to our colleagues from Release. ” The order comes from above because no legal procedure has been followed, no judge has asked for the search or the sealing. »

Because indeed, since Ihsane El-Kadi was arrested by the DGSI, the two media he directs and which carry a dissident voice in Algeria have been prevented from operating. The day after his arrest and in the presence of the handcuffed reporterthe police forced the dozens of journalists to leave their place of work, before carrying out searches, seizing documents and computer equipment, and finally placing the premises under seal.

Always at Freed, Tin Hinane El-Kadi puts forward a possibility – confirmed by the person concerned from his prison – as to the reason for his father’s arrest. In this case an article published in mid-Decembera ” analysis paper in which the journalist evoked dissensions within the army, in particular with regard to the future and the potential second mandate by Abdelmadjid Tebbounethe FLN executive who succeeded Abdelaziz Bouteflika as Algerian president.

Judicial harassment

A spark that would have set fire to already burning powders. Because as evidenced by the last tweet published at this time by Ihsane El-Kadi, in which he denounces the fallacy of government announcements, the journalist never ceases to criticize the power in place in Algiers. To the point of attracting enmities.

Since his arrest, Ihsane el-Kadi has notably been sentenced on appeal in another case for ” publication of false information “. A former minister of Abdelmajid Tebboune sued him for a post of political analysis on the Hirak, the great popular protest movement who brought down Abdelaziz Bouteflika before opposing his successor seen as a puppet. A publication for which Ihsane el-Kadi was therefore sentenced on appeal to six months in prison and a fine of around 300 euros. Last year, it was an article on the president’s record in power that had already earned him a summons from the gendarmerie. And that in addition to also being sued in yet another case for ” membership in a terrorist organization “, without him really knowing what it is all about.

Press freedom advocates outraged and worried

In the meantime, and if Ihsane El-Kadi’s family and lawyers were able to bring him medicine and be sure that he was in good health, this arrest represents a new blow against the freedom of expression of the other side of the Mediterranean. This is why the affair has aroused a unanimous outcry, in Algeria and internationally, among defenders of the press and journalism.

In local press titles, on the side of Reporters Without Borders or through posts written by academics, many speeches have effectively denounced this arrest of a luminary of Algerian journalism. “Terror does without justice “, for example lamented The Morning of Algeriawhen RSF demanded the “ immediate and unconditional release by Ihsane El-Kadi, through the voice of Khaled Drareni, himself detained for a year simply for practicing his profession as a journalist.

Let’s drive them crazy “, added the economist Kahina Redjala, calling on his fellow citizens to mobilize in support of the journalist. ” Imagine if we all carried within us the commitment, freedom and courage of Ihsane El-Kadi… »

In a long post published on Facebook and relayed by Radio M, Ali Bensaad, a leading specialist in the Arab world and the Middle East based in Paris, castigates the temporality in which the arrest was decided. ” Ihsan El Kadi was imprisoned at midnight sharp when this long truce began, known as the confectioners’ truce, which plunged institutions and international organizations into a lethargy of more than two weeks, especially those in the West, the only fears by the regime. “, he writes, lamenting” cowardice “of this decision, specific according to him to the” thugs, be it regimes, gangs or people “.

Who can deny today the authoritarian drift of the regime and the slope of mediocrity on which the country is committed? “Adds the university professor, who sees in the arrest a” disturbing climax ” of this ” derivative consisting in denying the plurality of society and opinions. ” Solidarity with Ihsan El Kadi concerns us all as citizens and as patriots, beyond possible differences “, he concludes, seeing in this sequence a” citizenship maturity test for Algerian society.

Drift ” authoritarian of the regime embodied by Abdelmajid Tebboune and in reality still controlled by the same elites for decades, as confirmed, among other things, by in The world researcher Dalia Ghanemor on Facebook journalist Said Djaaferpartner in crime » Eternal by Ihsane El-Kadi in the service of journalism and freedom of the press.

See also on the HuffPost:

Journalist Ihsane El-Kadi remanded in Algeria, new attack on press freedom