Statement from the Family of Journalist Ihsane El Kadi - Maghreb Emergent

Statement from the Family of Journalist Ihsane El Kadi

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Thursday, October 12, 2023, was a devastating day for us – the wife, children, friends, and colleagues of Ihsane El Kadi – as well as for all those concerned about the establishment of the rule of law in Algeria. On that day, the Supreme Court rejected two cassation appeals filed by his lawyers. The first appeal contested his seven-year sentence, which included five years in prison and two years suspended, for his alleged receipt of funds with the intent to “undermine State security”. The second case related to his conviction following a complaint from the former Minister of Communication, resulting in a six-month imprisonment for an opinion article published in March 2021, deemed by the authorities to “undermine national unity”.

Despite multiple violations of criminal procedure since Ihsane’s arrest in December 2022, he will not have the right to a third trial for the “foreign funding” case. Similarly, in violation of Article 54 of the Algerian Constitution, which stipulates that “press offenses cannot be subject to custodial sentences”, he will not be retried for the press article. The lack of respect for criminal procedure since Ihsane’s arrest, his conviction in these two cases, and the Supreme Court’s decision all serve to illustrate the instrumentalization of the judicial system to silence dissent.

Through this press release, we reiterate our unwavering support for Ihsane. We reaffirm our endorsement of his noble, just, and relentless fight for a professional and independent Algerian press and a free and democratic Algeria. We are in awe of his courage, self-sacrifice, and determination to carry out his work as a journalist despite all the intimidation he faces. We have not been defeated today thanks to his incredible strength and serenity. He remains a daily inspiration for us, as for many Algerians.

Ihsane, from his cell in El Harrach prison, and we, members of his family, would like to express our gratitude to the tens of thousands of people who have shown their solidarity with him in Algeria and around the world. We extend our thanks once again to the lawyers who spared no effort in their pursuit of justice, even in a repressive context. We are also grateful to the human rights organizations, as well as the countless journalists, artists, democracy activists, and other citizens, both at home and abroad, who mobilized for Ihsane’s release and for the release of the hundreds of political prisoners in Algeria. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Noam Chomsky, Leila Shahid, Annie Ernaux, Ken Loach, Etienne Balibar, Joyce Blau, Elias Khoury, Abdelatif Laabi, Achille Mbembe, Arundhati Roy, and Youssef Seddik for their invaluable support. Through their talent, genius, and unwavering commitment, they all contribute to shedding light on the oppressed, wherever they may be.

Finally, we join Ihsane in expressing our full support for the Palestinian people, who are enduring an unspeakable massacre at the hands of the Israeli occupation. Confronted with this tragedy, we call upon the leaders of our country to show wisdom and sagacity, enabling all Algerians to come together in the face of the internal and external challenges confronting our beloved country.

The family of journalist and political prisoner Ihsane El Kadi

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