Algerian blogger jailed for 10 year

An Algerian court has sentenced blogger Merzoug Touati to 10 years in prison for sharing sensitive information with a foreign country.

The court in the port city of Bejaia found Mr Touati, 30, guilty of "leaking intelligence to agents of a foreign country to damage the military and diplomatic interests of Algeria".

The prosecutors have sought life imprisonment.

Rights group Amnesty International has
tweeted his picture saying Mr Touati was being imprisoned for simply for posting online.

The conviction is related to an interview Mr Touati conducted with an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman and posted on his blog in January 2017. He has been in custody since his arrest.

However, the court dropped the accusation of inciting armed disobedience against the state, which is punishable by death under Algerian law.

Mr Touati’s lawyer Boubakeur Essidik Hemaili told news agency AFP that his client was innocent as he "was exercising his rights guaranteed by the constitution. He can talk to whom he wants".

Mr Touati will appeal the sentence, according to his lawyers.

The Vice-President of the Algerian League to Defend Human Rights, Said Salhi, expressed his "disappointment" with the verdict.


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