Geneva. A human rights activist denounces “the repressive Algerian regime” before the UN

Temporarily assigned to residence, in an arbitrary manner, Jamila Loukil questioned, by videoconference, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She denounced the oppression of fundamental freedoms in Algeria and the systematic reprisals suffered by Hirak activists.

Speaking in the context of the pre-session of the universal periodic review dedicated to civil society, Loukil complained of having been banned, with her husband, Kaddour Chouicha, vice-president of the office of the Algerian Defense League of Human Rights (Laddh), to travel to Geneva to attend the work of this meeting.

The journalist gave a damning account of the old-fashioned methods used by the Algerian police to silence free voices. She also highlighted judicial harassment and the use by her country’s authorities of arbitrary restrictions on the movement of dissidents and human rights activists.

Jamila Loukil recounted how she was herself forcibly detained with her husband at Oran airport by the police who knowingly wanted to make her miss her trip to Geneva. “It was only after the plane left that we were able to get out of the police station,” he said.

Placed on bail for seventeen months on false charges of terrorism along with her husband and journalist Said Boudour, Loukil deplored the continued deterioration of the situation of human rights and freedoms in Algeria with “an unprecedented repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

In the area of ​​freedom of assembly and demonstration, she pointed out that since 2021, the penal code has undergone a broad amendment with the broadening of the fields of accusation, the toughening of criminal penalties and above all the expansion of notion of terrorism to all critical activities or positions, with the instrumentalization of the judicial institution.

“This has led to the criminalization of the activities of associations, trade unions, politics, human rights defenders, journalists and the imprisonment of thousands of people,” she protested.

The activist noted, on the other hand, that Algeria’s commitments to respect freedom of the press and freedom of expression have not been kept, recalling that some of her fellow journalists and bloggers have been imprisoned. with tendentious accusations of terrorism or provisions of the penal code providing for custodial sentences, such as “incitement to unarmed gatherings, discrediting court decisions, moral attack on the army, insulting public officials or defamation”. Like Jamila Loukil, many activists defy the repressive regime that wants to silence them and continue to denounce it.

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