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Abdullah Benaoum facing charges for human rights work

Status: 
Sentence upheld
About the Situation

On 6 June 2018, Ghilizan’s Criminal Court of Appeal upheld a two-year sentence against Abdullah Benaoum on a number of charges relating to Facebook posts in which he criticised the government.

On 23 May, Ghilizan's Criminal Court of Appeal adjourned the appeal hearing against Abdullah Benaoum’s conviction to 6 June 2018.

On 23 May, Ghilizan's Criminal Court of Appeal will begin the appeal hearing against the conviction of Abdullah Benaoum. On 2 April, Ghilizan’s Criminal Court sentenced human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum to two years in prison following his retrial on a number of charges relating to Facebook posts in which he criticised the government.

About the HRD

hrd_abdullah_benaoum.jpgAbdullah Benaoum is a human rights defender and social media activist who has written on labor rights, prisoners’ rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities in Algeria. The human rights defender has attended demonstrations to monitor and document via social media, violations to the freedoms of assembly and association caused by the excessive use of police force.

3 April 2018
Sentencing of Abdullah Benaoum

UPDATE: On 6 June 2018, Ghilizan’s Criminal Court of Appeal upheld a two-year sentence against Abdullah Benaoum on a number of charges relating to Facebook posts in which he criticised the government.

UPDATE: On 23 May, the Ghilizan’s Criminal Court of Appeal adjourned the appeal hearing against Abdullah Benaoum’s conviction to 6 June 2018.

UPDATE: On 23 May, the Ghilizan's Criminal Court of Appeal will begin the appeal hearing against the conviction of Abdullah Benaoum

On 2 April, Ghilizan’s Criminal Court sentenced human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum to two years in prison following his retrial on a number of charges relating to Facebook posts in which he criticised the government.

Abdullah Benaoum is a social media activist who has written about labour rights, prisoners’ rights, and the rights of people with disabilities in Algeria. He had been monitoring and documenting violations of freedom of assembly and association on social media, and he had criticised the excessive use of police force against peaceful protesters in the Province of Ghilizan in northern Algeria.

On 18 March 2018, Ghilizan’s Criminal Court sentenced Abdullah Benaoum to two years in prison in absentia. He was arrested on 20 March after having been under “judicial monitoring” following a decision by the Ghilizan court in the Chamber of Indictment on 1 February 2018. The order stipulated that the human rights defender must be in attendance at Ghilizan court once a week and must not leave the Ghilizan municipality. Abdullah Benaoum’s retrial began on 26 March on charges of ‘inciting an illegal gathering’, ‘participating in a prohibited gathering’, ‘insulting a public institution’, ‘publishing materials that contradict national interests’, ‘insulting the President of the Republic’, and ‘publishing personal information’ relating to military commanders. He was also charged with violating Article 46 of Order 01/06 on the Charter of Peace and Reconciliation, which prohibits publications on the 1990 Algerian Civil War.

Front Line Defenders condemns the sentencing of human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum and believes his arrest and conviction are motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights. Front Line Defenders calls for his immediate release and calls on the Algerian authorities to guarantee that human rights defenders can carry out legitimate human rights activities without restriction or fear of reprisal.

20 March 2018
Abdullah Benaoum arrested

On 20 March 2018, an arrest order for Abdullah Benaoum was implemented by the Algerian authorities. This comes two days after the human rights defender was sentenced, on 18 March 2018, to two years in prison and a fine of 200,000 Algerian Dinars on a number of charges relating to Facebook posts he made. Abdullah Benaoum had been under “judicial monitoring” following a decision by the Ghalizan court in the Chamber of Indictment on 1 February 2018. The order stipulated that the human rights defender must be in attendance at Ghalizan court once a week and must not leave the Ghalizan municipality.

Abdullah Benaoum is a human rights defender and social media activist who has written on labour rights, prisoners’ rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities in Algeria. The human rights defender has attended demonstrations to monitor and document via social media, violations to the freedoms of assembly and association caused by the excessive use of police force.

On Tuesday, 20 March 2018, Abdullah Benaoum was arrested by Algerian authorities following his sentence on 18 March 2018, to two years in prison and a fine of 200,000 Algerian Dinars on charges of "incitement to an illegal gathering", “participating in a prohibited gathering,” “insulting a public institution,” “publication of materials with intent against national interests”, “insulting the president of the Republic”, “publication of personal information” in relation to publications on military commanders, and violating article 46 of order 01/06 on the Charter of Peace and Reconciliation which prohibits publications on the 1990 Algerian civil war. All of these charges relate to posts that the human rights defender had published on Facebook.

Abdullah Benaoum has been regularly subjected to judicial harassment in retaliation against his work in the defence and promotion of human rights in Algeria.

Front Line Defenders condemns the arrest and sentencing of human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum and believes it is solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights. Front Line Defenders furthermore calls for his immediate release.

13 February 2018
Abdullah Benaoum facing charges for human rights work

UPDATE: On 14 February 2018, in two separate hearings of human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum, the prosecution requested a total of 2 years imprisonment and a 200,000 Algerian Dinar fine on the charges of "incitement to an illegal gathering" and “insulting a public institution”. On 28 February 2018, a verdict and sentencing will be held, while the human rights defender will face a separate trial on an additional separate charge of "insulting a public institution".

On 14 February 2018, human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum will face trial on charges of “participating in a prohibited gathering,” “insulting a public institution,” “publication of materials with intent against national interests”, “insulting the president of the Republic”, “publication of personal information” in relation to publications on military commanders, and violating article 46 of order 01/06 on the Charter of Peace and Reconciliation which prohibits publications on the 1990 Algerian civil war and carries a minimum sentence of three years and a maximum sentence of five years.

Download Urgent Appeal

The human rights defender is regularly subjected to judicial harassment in retaliation against his work in the defence and promotion of human rights in Algeria. On Thursday, 1 February 2018, Ghalizan court ordered “judicial monitoring” against Abdullah Benaoum in the Chamber of Indictment. The order stipulated that the human rights defender must be in attendance in Ghalizan court once a week and must not leave the Ghalizan municipality.

Front Line Defenders condemns the judicial harassment of human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum and believes it is solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights.

Front Line Defenders calls upon the government of Algeria to:

1. Immediately cease the judicial harassment of and drop all charges against Abdullah Benaoum;

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Algeria are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.