Algerian female journalist sentenced to two months in prison for libel

By Iqbal Tamimi

The National Union of Algerian
journalists announced Tuesday, 26 June 2012, that the court of Annaba (600 km
east of Algiers) sentenced  a female
journalist working at the regional newspaper (Akher Saa) “The last
hour,” to two months imprisonment .

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The union said in its statement: “journalist
Fatima Zahra Amarah, working at the regional newspaper Akher Saa, has been
convicted on Monday, June 25
th of two months in prison and a fine of
20,000 dinars (200 euros) and compensation charges of 100 thousand dinars (one
thousand euros) after a trial in the case of libel filed against her by the
former director of Annaba hospital. “

“Akher Saa” newspaper said that the mentioned above journalist
has reported on the course of the trial brought by a female employee accusing the
former director of Annaba hospital
of sexual harassment, but the journalist failed to report the course of the
trial accurately.

Amara, told AFP: “I am
shocked. The sentence is too harsh, especially as the government of President
Abdelaziz Bouteflika has committed itself to ensuring freedom of the press and
the parliament has approved a law that eliminates jail terms on cases against
the press”.

“I will appeal against the
verdict on Thursday. “She added

The Algerian Press Syndicate expressed
its shock of the court’s decision, on the grounds that the Algerian media law
does not include imprisonment in press offense since its amendment in October
2011.”

According to the journalists’
union “the danger” comes from the fact that it is not an
“isolated incident that can be classified as a judicial error” since
it comes after ten days from similar Libel provision against the La Nouvelle Republique
reporter in a case filed against him by the director of taxation in the region.
“.

The union called for an
“immediate halt of such jurisdictions against journalists since they are
not based on any legal articles”

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