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Human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum sentenced for peacefully protesting

Status: 
Sentenced
About the situation

At the beginning of May 2020, human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum suspended his hunger strike.

On 10 April 2020, human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum began an open-ended hunger strike to protest against ill-treatment in prison. Since then, his health condition has deteriorated and he is currently in the prison’s medical clinic.

On 27 January 2020, the Criminal Court of Ghilizan sentenced human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum to two months’ imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 dinars, following his participation in a peaceful demonstration held in Ghilizan in early December 2019.

About Abdullah Benaoum

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 freedom of assembly and association caused by the excessive use of police force.

19 May 2020
Abdullah Benaoum suspends hunger strike

At the beginning of May 2020, human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum suspended his hunger strike. He began the hunger strike on 10 April 2020, in protest against ill-treatment in Bel Hacel Prison in Ghilizan. The human rights defender is still in critical condition.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, imprisoned human rights defenders in Algeria have been completely isolated as all family visits have been suspended and phone calls are not permitted.

23 April 2020
Abdullah Benaoum on hunger strike, health deteriorating

On 10 April 2020, human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum began an open-ended hunger strike to protest against ill-treatment in prison. Since then, his health condition has deteriorated and he is currently in the prison’s medical clinic.

On 27 February 2020, the Public Prosecution considered the charges of ‘insulting the regime’, ‘incitement’ and ‘spreading fake news’ as felonies. If found guilty, Abdullah Benaoum is at risk of facing a six year prison sentence.

On 27 January 2020, the Criminal Court of Ghilizan sentenced the human rights defender to two months imprisonment in Bel Hacel Prison in Ghilizan and a fine of 20,000 dinars (approx. 150 euros). Despite having served the two month sentence he remains in detention as he is facing the above mentioned new charges related to social media posts.

On 8 January 2020, Abdullah Benaoum was formally charged with several offences, including ‘contributing to the weakening of the army’s morale’, ‘insulting the regime’ and ‘incitement against the state’.

5 February 2020
Human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum sentenced for peacefully protesting

On 27 January 2020, the Criminal Court of Ghilizan sentenced human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum to two months’ imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 dinars, following his participation in a peaceful demonstration held in Ghilizan in early December 2019.

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Abdullah 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 freedom of assembly and association caused by the excessive use of police force.

On 10 December 2019, Abdullah Benaoum was arrested after being summoned to a local police station in Ghilizan. His arrest came after his participation in a peaceful demonstration in Ghilizan in early December 2019. Abdullah Benaoum was interrogated for several hours, during which he was denied access to his lawyer.

On 8 January 2020, the human rights defender was formally charged with several offences, including ‘contributing to the weakening of the army’s morale’, ‘insulting the regime’ and ‘incitement against the state’. On 27 January 2020, the Criminal Court of Ghilizan sentenced him to two months’ imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 dinars (approx. 150 euros). He is currently being held in Bel Hacel Prison in Ghilizan.

The human rights defender has been frequently detained and subjected to judicial harassment by the authorities in relation to his work defending human rights in Algeria. In March 2018, he was arrested and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on a number of charges relating to his Facebook posts. In June 2019, following a request made by his defence, he was conditionally released.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned about the sentencing of human rights defender Abdullah Benaoum, as it is believed to be solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate work defending human rights in Algeria.