A prominent journalist in Algeria has been sentenced to five years in prison, with two years suspended, and ordered to shut down his website and radio station, based on the allegation that they threaten state security.
Ihsane El-Kadi was detained on December 23, 2022, accused of receiving foreign funding for his media outlets. The court also ordered El-Kadi to pay a fine of 700,000 Algerian dinars ($5,200), while his media company, which owns his website and radio station, was ordered to be dissolved and fined one million Algerian dinars ($7,390).
El-Kadi, who was active in Algeria’s pro-democracy protest movement Hirak in 2019, has been in custody since his arrest and appeared in court on Sunday for the verdict, along with a group of lawyers, journalists, and family members who were there to support him.
His outlets were seen by many as outposts of free debate in Algerian media that provided journalists and opposition politicians a platform to point out contradictions or shortfalls in the government’s policies.
According to his lawyers, the case against El-Kadi is linked to the crowdfunding used to finance his media outlets, Maghreb Emergent and Webradio.
While the website and radio station operated in Algeria for years, they did not have government recognition as official media organizations.
The charge against him is related to an article in the criminal code that targets anyone who receives funds aimed at “inciting acts susceptible to threaten state security, stability or Algeria’s fundamental interests.” His lawyers said this accusation was baseless.