Algeria activist calls for UN intervention to help release political prisoners

Algeria activist calls for UN intervention to help release political prisoners
An Algerian activist has urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to pressure Algeria's authorities into releasing political prisoners.
2 min read
09 January, 2022
Hundreds of protesters have been arrested since 2019 in Algeria [Getty- archive]

An Algerian opposition activist, who is currently under judicial control, has called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to intervene to help release political prisoners in Algeria.

Karim Tiabou, a political detainee himself, addressed Guterres in a letter in which he accused authorities in his country of imposing repressive policies and comprehensive restrictions on political and civil liberties, as well as on the media.

He demanded UN intervention to force the Algerian government into reversing these policies.

"Because our country is a member of the Charter of the United Nations and has ratified all international conventions on political and civil rights, we call on you to work to put an end to all these violations and violence," Tiabo’s letter to Guterres read.

"It is your personal duty and the duty of all UN bodies to work through diplomatic channels… to compel the Algerian authorities’ immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners [of free speech], and the cessation of judicial proceedings against political activists, and workers in the cultural and social field."

Tiabou, arrested several times during the protests which rocked Algeria from early 2019, which led to the ousting of long-time serving president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who passed away last year, said Algerian authorities control all press in the country and impose illegal security censorship on social media.

"The Algerian individual who does not submit to the choices of the strict regime is liable to arrest, is placed under judicial supervision or is subjected to intimidation by security services, if not the target of a smear campaign by state-controlled media."

"This is the fate of Algerians who desire justice and freedom, and who are seeking change."

Tiabou’s call to Guterres comes days after Algerian authorities carried out multiple arrests of people accused of criticising the government.

More than 300 activists were in prison as of December last year.

Algiers very often accuses those detained of working for foreign parties, undermining state security, having links to terror groups or other allegations.

In October last year, the government dissolved the civil society group Youth Action Rally, which has been a key part of the country's pro-democracy 'Hirak' protest movement.