EU Member of Parliament disturbed Over Health Condition of Detained Algerian Activist


Rabat – Marie Arena, a member of the European Parliament, has expressed worries over the health condition of Algerian activist Abdullah Benaoum who is still in detention since his participation in a peaceful demonstration in December 2019.

In a statement quoted by the DROI Committee Press on Human rights, Arena stressed that she is “very worried about the health condition of Abdullah Benaoum who started a hunger strike in early September to protest against his arbitrary detention in Algeria.”

The Algerian human rights defender and social media activist was previously arrested in March 2018 for making critical publications about the Algerian authorities and army. He was sentenced to 50 months before he was released in June 2019 following a hunger strike that led to a serious deterioration of his health.

Six months after his release, he was arrested again for “social media posts and private phone communications criticizing the authorities and opposing the holding of presidential elections,” the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) said in a statement.

Benaoum was accused of “demoralizing the army,” “undermining national unity,” “inciting an unarmed gathering,” “offending state institutions,” and “discrediting the decisions of the judiciary.” He is expected to serve jail time until at least May 2023.

Several Algerian and international human rights organizations were outspoken on the severe treatment and poor medical care Benaoum faces in prison.

He was able to undergo heart surgery in November 2020 but despite his critical condition, Algerian authorities refused to give him a conditional release, FIDH added.

Human rights organizations have been decrying the situation of human rights in Algeria.

In September, members of the Moroccan diaspora organized protests and sit-ins in New York to warn the international community about the continued violations of human rights in the North African country.

The violations include arbitrary arrests of demonstrators, crackdowns on protests, and the chronic lack of substantive reforms.

The protest was part of many actions held under the Hirak movement to demand an end to the repression of the Algerian regime and arbitrary arrests.

Protesters in New York drew attention to human rights abuses by displaying pictures of people who are detained arbitrarily for either participating in Hirak movements or for being linked to NGOs that the Algerian regime dubbed as “terrorists.”

Many arbitrary arrests have occurred as the country is in the grip of an economic crisis that broke out before the end of the Bouteflika era.

In recent years, protesters flocked to the streets across the country calling for the immediate resignation of an old and incapacitated president as well as officials linked to a corrupted system.

Because demonstrators did not witness tangible reforms vowed by the new administration, protests continued even after Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected as president.

Source: mwn