Algerian online journalist given a suspended two-month prison sentence for “insulting a statutory body”

Algerian online journalist given a suspended two-month prison sentence for “insulting a statutory body”

For several years, Saïd Boudour has suffered frequent harassment from the Algerian authorities because of his activities as an online journalist and human rights defender. He was last arrested on October 6, 2019 and was charged with, among other things, “harming the morale of the troops and the integrity of the national territory.” On November 24, 2020, the Criminal Court of Oran sentenced him in absentia to one year imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Algerian Dinar. During a retrial on March 10, 2021, Saïd Boudour was sentenced to a two-month suspended prison sentence.

Latest Updates
March 10, 2020: The Court of First Instance of Oran acquits Said Boudour of the charge of "defamation" and sentences him to a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 20,000 Dinars for the charge of "insulting the regime"; the defense appealed the decision.
November 24, 2020: The Oran criminal court sentences Saïd Boudour in absentia to one year imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Algerian Dinar (approximately 325 Euros).
August 26, 2020: MENA Rights Group sends an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
March 1, 2021: Said Boudour is held in provisional detention pending retrial by the Court of First Instance of Oran.
March 10, 2020: The indictment division of the Oran criminal court drops some of the charges against Saïd Boudour and refers his case to the correctional court.
January 10, 2020: The investigating judge of the 5th chamber of the Oran court transferred his file to the criminal division of the court.
October 7, 2019: Saïd Boudour is charged, among other things, with “harming the morale of the troops” and “harming the integrity of the national territory and national unity.”
October 6, 2019: Saïd Boudour is arrested and interrogated by the police at the Department of National Security in Oran as a result of certain Facebook posts.

For several years, Saïd Boudour has suffered frequent harassment from the Algerian authorities because of his activities as an online journalist and human rights defender. He is particularly interested in the human rights of migrants and political prisoners in the context of the “Hirak” (the Algerian anti-government protest movement).

He was arrested several times between June 2016 and December 2018. In June 2018, he was arrested after attending a meeting of the Algerian League for Human Rights. He was then transferred to Algiers, to be prosecuted in connection with information he had shared concerning a drug seizure in Oran that involved several state officials.

Saïd Boudour was arrested again on October 6, 2019 and taken into custody at the Department of National Security in Oran. There, he was questioned about the anti-government content shared on his Facebook account. He was also questioned about other content, which he is not the author of, published via a hacked Facebook account. The next day, he was charged with the crimes of “harming the morale of the troops,” “harming the integrity of the national territory and national unity,” “defamation”, and  “insulting state institutions.”

The investigating judge of the court of Oran accepted his request for a temporary release on October 7, 2019. Nevertheless, on October 15, the indictment division of the court decided to cancel the decision taken by the investigative judge.

On March 10, 2020, his case was transferred to the correctional court following the requalification of the charges. Saïd Boudour remains charged with “insulting a statutory body”, “defamation,” and “threats.” These charges refer to Facebook posts criticising the former Chief of Staff of the People's National Army Ahmed Gaïd Salah.

The Criminal Court of Oran sentenced Saïd Boudour in absentia to one year imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Algerian Dinar on November 24, 2020. During a retrial on March 10, 2021, Saïd Boudour was sentenced to a two-month suspended prison sentence. He was released at the end of his trial.