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Journalist injured during meeting in Paris in support of Algerian president

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF condemns the assault on Samia Baba Aïssa, an Algerian journalist based in France who works for Radio Orient, during a 28 March 2009 meeting in Paris in support of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is a candidate in upcoming elections.

The incident took place during a large meeting organised by Bouteflika supporters one week before the Algerian presidential elections. The room was packed with the president's supporters. Abdelmalek Sellal, a former minister and the candidate's campaign director, participated in a question and answer session in which journalists expressed themselves freely. The atmosphere gradually grew more tense, however, and when journalist Samia Baba Aïssa referred to a "democratic deficit" due to an unequal allocation of resources to the different parties in the race, the situation deteriorated.

One of the organisers, who seemed busy photographing "impertinent" journalists, publicly admonished Aïssa, telling her, "I've got you on file and I'm going to make sure everyone knows you. You can count on me."

In the jostling that followed, the journalist sustained head injuries which left her unable to work for five days.

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