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Journalist Mohamed Benchicou has book banned by police for second year running

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has condemned a recent Algerian police order which prevents the publication of respected Algerian journalist Mohamed Benchicou's book, "The Free Man's Journal" ("Journal d'un homme libre"). The injunction has prevented the journalist from presenting his book at the 13th International Book Fair in Algiers, which is to take place from 27 October to 5 November 2008.

This is the second time that Algerian police have used such brutal censorship against the author. At the same time last year, police issued an order to stop the production of Benchicou's book, "The Jails of Algiers". This is a blatant intervention in publishing affairs, which are legally protected by the Algerian constitution, which outlaws censorship unless it happens as a result of a judicial order.

The refusal to print Benchicou's new book is part of a systematic campaign of harassment against him by the Algerian government. He was held in prison from 2004 to 2006 and his newspaper "Le Matin" was closed down two years ago in retaliation for releasing a book called "Bouteflika: The Algerian Trick" in 2004. In this book, Benchicou courageously criticised the prevailing corruption in Algeria under current president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

ANHRI said, "The prevention of the publication of Benchicou's book confirms the point behind his criticism, namely the absence of law and the domination of corruption. We would like Benchicou to know that his message has been received and that we strongly support him and his stance."

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