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Anti-corruption activist given six-month suspended sentence, fine

(RSF/IFEX) - Jilali Hadjadj, an anti-corruption activist, doctor and regular contributor to the daily "Le Soir d'Algérie", was given a six-month suspended sentence and fined 50,000 dinars (500 euros) by an Algiers court on 13 September 2010, in a case largely suspected to be politicised. Hadjadj's wife was given a two-month suspended sentence and fined 20,000 dinars (200 euros).

Hadjadj was arrested at the airport on 5 September as he was preparing to board a flight for France. His arrest followed a complaint filed by the national medical insurance office (CNAS) over three medical certificates he wrote for his wife.

The couple intends to appeal the ruling, which was handed down in only one day following numerous procedural irregularities. Hadjadj did not receive a summons, either to the judicial investigation or to the hearing. Moreover, the case should have been handed over to the medical governing body rather than treated as a common law case.

Hadjadj is president of the Algerian Association against Corruption (AALC) and Algerian representative for the NGO Transparency International. He has been a regular contributor to "Le Soir d'Algérie" for the past five years, authoring a weekly column on corruption.

"Le Soir d'Algérie"'s editor, who spoke to RSF, said he believed Hadjadj's arrest was politically motivated.

"The sheer scale of the means deployed against him makes it difficult to conclude otherwise," he noted.

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