Algerian Activists Slam Living Conditions of ‘Prisoners of Conscience’



Algerian Activists Slam Living Conditions of ‘Prisoners of Conscience’

Sunday, 2 June, 2019 – 11:15
Algerian man sprays water on policeman to ease the effects of high temperatures in the capital on Saturday, June 1, 2019 (Reuters)
Algeria – Bouallam Ghemraseh
Nongovernmental Algerian rights organizations prepared a list including 16 prisoners of conscience, four of whom have died over the past three years, and the last was activist Kamel Eddine Fekhar, whose funeral was held on Saturday.

Fekhar’s funeral was attended by mass of people, including activists from the popular movements that have taken place in the country since February 22.

One of the most controversial political prisoners is retired General Hussein Ben Hadid, 76, who suffers fractures in the pelvis after falling in Harrash prison in the eastern suburb of the capital.

His legal team told reporters on Saturday that his physical weakness has prevented a surgical operation in the injured area.

Bashir Mashri, a lawyer, said his injury “confirms that he hasn’t received his right to medical care in prison.”

Ben Hadid was put in pre-trial detention two weeks ago on charges of “weakening the army’s morale.”

He published an article in a local newspaper criticizing Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gaid Salah and how he is handling the crisis.

Human rights activists criticized his detention and considered him a prisoner of conscience, accusing Salah of taking his revenge from him for personal reasons.

Ben Hadid described Salah five years ago as a “commander who is not respected by soldiers.” He was jailed for eight months two years ago and was released after discovering he was seriously ill.

Although Bouteflika stepped down from power on April 2, Abdellah Ben Naoum, a political activist, who was accused of “insulting the president,” remains in prison west Algeria, serving a two-year sentence.

His lawyers said his health condition is deteriorating because of a hunger strike that has lasted more than 80 days now.

Ben Naoum refuses to end the strike, telling his confidants that he was jailed for his positions on the former president.

Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) has warned that he would end up like Fekhar, whose death has put the current authorities in great embarrassment.

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