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Four human rights activists detained

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, June 20, 2012 - ANHRI denounced the detention and trial of four human rights activists in Algeria on charges of assembly and the peaceful condemnation of the detention of activist Abdel-Qader Kharba. ANHRI demands the immediate release of human rights activists and the dropping of all charges against them.

Bab El-Wad court in the Algerian capital decided to postpone the trial of the four activists to September 27.

“This trial is a flagrant violation of freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association and the freedom to demonstrate. It aim is to crack down on civil society in Algeria,” said ANHRI.

The four activists are :

- Yassin Zayed: an activist within the Algerian League for the Defense of Rights

- Abdou Ben Judy: an activist in the movement of Independent Youth for Change

- Osman Awamr: a member in the Network for defending freedoms and dignity.

- Likhdar Bouzini: member of the national independent union of public employees (SNAPAP)

The four activists were called to stand before Bab El-Wad court for demanding the release of Abdel-Qader Kharba, who is a member of the national committee for the rights of the unemployed (CNDDC), and the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH). He was arrested on April 19 for his contribution in a peaceful sit-in in solidarity with court clerks demanding better working conditions. On May 3, Kharba received a one year suspended sentence and a fine of 20 thousand dinars (200 euros).

These violations come shortly after the issuance of the legislative amendments, which allowed the Algerian government to tighten its grip on civil society and the political sphere in general.

In January 2012, the Algerian parliament approved amendments to the associations Act that included limitations to the right to organize, a significant decline of the political reform claimed by President Bouteflika.

Recently, Algeria has been launching a vicious campaign of judicial and administrative harassment against activists and human rights activists, including :

- Haji Eissa Abbass and Mohammed Albwimmer: representatives of the CNDDC in Laghouat state.

- Malika Flil: head of the national committee for pre-hire contracts and social safety net, a SNAPAP affiliate.

- Al-Taher Bel-Abbass : the spokesman for CNDDC

” The human rights activists who are now on trial were followed on the basis of Article 100 of the Penal Code,” said the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights.

“The trial of these human rights activists is intended to disrupt their work exposing and documenting violations and crimes committed by Bouteflika's regime,” said ANHRI, adding that “the Algerian regime proves day by day that it didn't learn from the lessons of the Arab Spring and they will pay for it if they don't change their policy.”

ANHRI demands the immediate end to crackdowns on peaceful sit-ins and human rights activists and to implement Algeria's commitments to the rights and freedoms covered in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it ratified.

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