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Human rights defender sentenced to 5 years in prison

Status: 
Sentenced
About the situation

On 17 October 2021, the Criminal Court of Adrar sentenced human rights defender Mohad Gasmi to 5 years imprisonment. The sentence comes days after his hearing on 13 October 2021, in which the Criminal Court of Adrar had requested additional information in the human rights defender’s case and ruled to continue investigating and gathering more details before reaching a verdict. It had been expected that Mohad Gasmi’s trial would be rescheduled until the investigation had concluded.

The hearing of Algerian human rights defender Mohad Gasmi, who has been in preventive detention in Adrar penal institution for 470 days, has been scheduled for 13 October 2021 in the Criminal Court of Adrar. The hearing is in relation to the charge of “praising terrorism” pressed against him on 14 June 2020 with regards to two of his Facebook posts.

On 5 July 2021, human rights defender Mohad Gasmi began an open-ended hunger strike to protest his preventive detention, the charge against him and the transfer of his case to the Criminal Court of Adrar.

On 5 January 2021, the Indictment Chamber of Adrar ordered to transfer the case of human rights defender Mohad Gasmi to the Criminal Court of Adrar.

On 14 June 2020, Mohad Gasmi was placed in preventive detention on charges of ‘praising terrorism’ by the Public Prosecution of Adrar.

About Mohad Gasmi

Mohad GasmiMohad Gasmi is a human rights defender from the southern Algerian Province of Adrar, and is part of the ‘Unemployed Movement’ which demands social and economic justice for the unemployed, and advocates for the youth economic and social rights in Southern Algeria. In 2015, he joined the anti-shale gas drilling movement, a popular movement that peacefully protests against the environmental consequences of fracking in South Algeria. Mohad Gasmi is also part of the Hirak movement which calls for political and social reforms.

26 October 2021
Human rights defender sentenced to 5 years in prison

On 17 October 2021, the Criminal Court of Adrar sentenced human rights defender Mohad Gasmi to 5 years imprisonment. The sentence comes days after his hearing on 13 October 2021, in which the Criminal Court of Adrar had requested additional information in the human rights defender’s case and ruled to continue investigating and gathering more details before reaching a verdict. It had been expected that Mohad Gasmi’s trial would be rescheduled until the investigation had concluded.

Mohad Gasmi is a human rights defender from the southern Province of Adrar, and is part of the ‘Unemployed Movement’ which advocates for social and economic justice for the unemployed and youth in southern Algeria. In 2015, he joined the anti-shale gas drilling movement, a popular movement that peacefully protests against the environmental consequences of fracking in southern Algeria. Mohad Gasmi is also part of the Hirak movement which calls for political and social reforms.

Previously, the human rights defender had been in preventive detention in Adrar penal institution for 490 days on the charge of “praising terrorism” brought against him on 14 June 2020. This charge was in relation to two of his Facebook posts. In the first post, the human rights defender called on the Algerian Army to “serve the people” during the COVID-19 pandemic, while in the other post published in 2018, he stated that the responsibility of the armed movement ‘Mouvement des Enfants du Sud pour la justice’ (MSJ) on the State due to the continued marginalisation of the people living in southern Algeria.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned regarding the detention of human rights defender Mohad Gasmi and believes that his detention and sentencing is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities to release Mohad Gasmi and quash the conviction against him.

6 October 2021
Mohad Gasmi’s hearing scheduled

The hearing of Algerian human rights defender Mohad Gasmi, who has been in preventive detention in Adrar penal institution for 470 days, has been scheduled for 13 October 2021 in the Criminal Court of Adrar. The hearing is in relation to the charge of “praising terrorism” pressed against him on 14 June 2020 with regards to two of his Facebook posts.

13 July 2021
Human rights defender Mohad Gasmi on hunger strike

On 5 July 2021, human rights defender Mohad Gasmi began an open-ended hunger strike to protest his preventive detention, the charge against him and the transfer of his case to the Criminal Court of Adrar. He is currently detained in Adrar penal institution.

Mohad Gasmi is a human rights defender from the southern Algerian Province of Adrar, and is part of the ‘Unemployed Movement’ which demands social and economic justice for the unemployed, and advocates for youth economic and social rights in Southern Algeria. In 2015, he joined the anti-shale gas drilling movement, a popular movement that peacefully protests against the environmental consequences of fracking in South Algeria. Mohad Gasmi is also part of the Hirak movement which calls for political and social reforms.

On 5 July 2021, Mohad Gasmi began an open-ended hunger strike to protest against his preventive detention that has been in place since 14 January 2020 and the charge against him of “praising terrorism”, which is in relation to two of his Facebook posts, one in which he called on the Algerian Army to ‘serve the people’ during COVID-19. The second post was from 2018, in which Mohad Gasmi stated that the State is responsible for the armed movement in Southern Algeria, ‘Mouvement des Enfants du Sud pour la justice’ (MSJ), as the movement’s activities are a result of the government’s continued marginalisation of people living in Southern Algeria. His decision to go on hunger strike is also in response to the transfer of his case to the Criminal Court of Adrar on 5 January 2021.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned regarding the conviction and detention of human rights defender Mohad Gasmi, which it believes to be in response to his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights and exposing corruption. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Algeria to quash the conviction of Mohad Gasmi and immediately and unconditionally release him.

21 January 2021
Mohad Gasmi’s case transferred to the Criminal Court

On 5 January 2021, the Indictment Chamber of Adrar ordered to transfer the case of human rights defender Mohad Gasmi to the Criminal Court of Adrar.

The human rights defender has been in preventive detention since 14 January 2020. He was detained and charged with 'praising terrorism', in relation to two of his Facebook posts, one in which he called on the Algerian Army to ‘serve the people’ during COVID-19. The second post was from 2018, in which Mohad Gasmi stated that the state holds responsibility for the armed movement in Southern Algeria, ‘Mouvement des Enfants du Sud pour la justice’ (MSJ), because activities of this movement were the result of continued marginalisation of people living in Southern Algeria by the government.

19 June 2020
Human rights defender Mohad Gasmi in preventive detention

On 14 June 2020, Mohad Gasmi was placed in preventive detention on charges of ‘praising terrorism’ by the Public Prosecution of Adrar.

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Mohad Gasmi is a human rights defender from the southern Algerian Province of Adrar, and is part of the ‘Unemployed Movement’ which demands social and economic justice for the unemployed, and advocates for the youth economic and social rights in Southern Algeria. In 2015, he joined the anti-shale gas drilling movement, a popular movement that peacefully protests against the environmental consequences of fracking in South Algeria. Mohad Gasmi is also part of the Hirak movement which calls for political and social reforms.

On 7 June 2020, the human rights defender was summoned by phone call to attend Adrar police station for interrogation regarding two social media posts. The interrogation occurred without the presence of his lawyer. In one of the posts, Mohad Gasmi called on the Algerian Army to ‘serve the people’ during COVID-19. The second post was from 2018, in which Mohad Gasmi stated that the state holds responsibility for the armed movement in Southern Algeria, ‘Mouvement des Enfants du Sud pour la justice’ (MSJ), as the activities of this movement were the result of continual marginalisation by the government. On 9 June 2020, the Public Prosecution ordered the inspection of the human rights defender’s house, during which his laptop, mobile phone, and the USB flash were confiscated by the police.

On 8 June 2020, Mohad Gasmi was placed in police custody and was detained at the Adrar Centre Police Station. On 14 June, the Public Prosecution of Adrar ordered the preventive detention of Mohad Gasmi and charged him with ‘praising terrorism’. He remains in detention at the time of writing. During COVID-19 crisis, several human rights defenders have been subjected to arbitrary detention by the Algerian authorities.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned regarding the detention of human rights defender Mohad Gasmi, and the continual detention and harassment of human rights defenders in Algeria. Front Line Defenders believes that the detention of Mohad Gasmi is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.