Algerian Journalist Rabah Karèche Detained On False News and Anti-State Allegations

New York — Algerian authorities must immediately set free journalist Rabah Karèche and cease their investigation into his work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On April 18, judicial police in the southern city of Tamanrasset arrested Karèche, a correspondent for the daily privately owned newspaper Liberté, after he responded to a summons for questioning, according to news reports and a statement by his employer.

At a court hearing in Tamanrasset yesterday, authorities accused the journalist of disseminating “false news harmful to the public order,” undermining national security and unity, and using an electronic account to disseminate “information prone to causing segregation and hatred in society,” according to those sources and local journalist and press freedom advocate Mustapha Bendjama, who is following the case and spoke to CPJ over messaging app.

A judge ordered Karèche to be detained until the investigation into those allegations concludes, according to those sources.

“Algerian authorities should not imprison journalists for reporting on minority communities-instead, they must prioritize the public’s access to information,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Senior Researcher Justin Shilad. “Authorities must immediately release Rabah Karèche, drop all charges against him, and allow journalists to report freely in the country.”

During his questioning on April 18, police interrogated Karèche about an article he published earlier that day on land-use protests by members of the Tuareg tribe in southern Algeria, according to his employer’s statement, which said that police then transferred him to the custody of the state prosecutor’s office.