The Constantine court on Tuesday sentenced Franco-Algerian opponent Amira Bouraoui to 10 years in prison in absentia, and to six months the journalist Mustapha Bendjama, accused of having helped her escape to France, according to Algerian media. and Khaled Drareni, representative of Reporters Without Borders.
The prosecution had requested 10 years in prison against Ms. Bouraoui and three years against the journalist, who given the time already spent in preventive detention, can be released immediately, Mr. Drareni said on X (formerly Twitter).
Amira Bouraoui, a trained doctor aged 46, was on trial for “illegally leaving the territory” after crossing the border between Algeria and Tunisia on February 3, defying an exit ban, before being arrested in Tunis while she was trying to board a flight to Paris.
The activist was finally able to fly to France three days later, despite an attempt by Tunisian authorities to send her back to Algeria.
Algiers had described its flight as an “illegal exfiltration” carried out with the help of French diplomatic and security personnel, and had recalled its ambassador to Paris for consultations. This diplomatic quarrel was resolved in March.
Ms. Bouraoui became known in 2014 for her involvement in the +Barakat+ movement against the fourth term of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, before getting involved in the “Hirak” protest movement and working for the independent private radio station Radio M.
The court in Constantine (north-east) also sentenced Ali Takaida, a border police agent, to three years in prison and a one-year suspended prison sentence to Ms. Bouraoui’s mother, Khadidja, aged 71, according to the same sources.
The activist’s co-defendants were prosecuted for “constitution of a criminal association, illegal exit from the national territory, organization of illegal immigration by an organized criminal network”.
Mustapha Bendjama was arrested on February 8 in the premises of the French-speaking newspaper Le Provincial, based in Annaba (east), of which he is editor-in-chief, in the context of the Bouraoui affair.
He was sentenced on October 26 in another case to 20 months in prison, eight of which were served alongside Algerian-Canadian researcher Raouf Farrah, who was released after serving the same sentence.