Algerian authorities pardon thousands of prisoners but keep protesters behind bars

Algerian authorities pardon thousands of prisoners but keep protesters behind bars
Those imprisoned for rising up against the government were left out in a mass pardoning in Algeria.
1 min read
07 February, 2020
Algerians rose up against longtime dictator Abdelaziz Bouteflika last year [Getty]

Algeria's president pardoned almost 6,300 prisoners on Thursday, but scores detained as part of an anti-government protest movement will not benefit from the move, a support group said.

The pardon came two days after the president issued a similar pardon for almost 3,500 other prisoners.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune signed a decree Thursday pardoning "a second group of prisoners (6,294 detainees) ... whose remaining sentence is 18 months or less", a statement from the presidency carried by official press agency APS said.

The measure does not apply to those imprisoned for crimes including terrorism, treason, espionage and corruption, it added.

On Tuesday, Tebboune pardoned 3,471 people who had six months or less remaining of their sentence.

The Hirak movement was launched in February 2019 to demand that longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resign instead of running for a fifth term.

The CNLD prisoners' rights group, which identifies and supports detainees, said the pardons did not affect 142 Hirak members who are still in preventive detention.

Tebboune was elected president on December 12 in a poll marred by an official turnout of less than 40 percent.

Nearly a year after the movement began, Hirak protesters continue to demand systemic reform and the resignation of government officials.

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