The International Freedom Of Expression Exchange

The International Freedom Of Expression Exchange

Journalist Touhami Madjouri arrested

June 17, 1998

Toronto(RSF/IFEX) – Journalist Touhami Madjouri, who works for the privately-owned Arab-language daily « El-Alam Essiassi », was arrested after having gone to the airport to pick up a package of books that he had shipped from Jordan.

According to his co-workers, Madjouri might have been arrested because one of the books in the package did not appear on the invoice. Nevertheless, authorities did not offer any explanation for apprehending the journalist. Police headquarters in Algiers confirmed Madjouri’s arrest and simply indicated that he was being held at one of the city’s police stations.

Another journalist with « El-Alam Essiassi », Aziz Bouabdallah, went missing on 12 April 1997 after being arrested by four men in police uniform. Bouabdallah was then taken to the Chateauneuf military security barracks in Algiers, where he was allegedly interrogated and tortured. Bouabdallah reportedly died following the torture. No official reason

was given by authorities concering the journalist’s arrest. However, it appears that it was linked to an article deemed « defamatory » that had been written by Bouabdallah ten days before (see IFEX alerts). Bouabdallah, who was 24 years old and still a student, had filed several reports on Islamic groups and had dealt notably with the current political situation in Algeria. Bouabdallah had already been taken in for questioning in January 1997 in regard to alleged links that he had maintained with political groups.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities: -calling on them to use their influence so that Touhami Madjouri is released as soon as possible -emphasising that, only two days after the four-month suspended sentence handed down against journalist El Kadi Ihsane for « threats and insults », this arrest constitutes a further violation of the recent promise by President Liamine Zeroual in which he said he would no longer seek to arrest, try or imprison any journalist -asking them to open an investigation so that the exact circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Aziz Bouabdallah are made known.

APPEALS TO:

His Excellency Liamine Zeroual President of the Republic Palais presidentiel El Mouradia Alger,

Algerie Fax : (213) 2 60 96 18

Copies to:

Ministry of Communications Algiers, Algeria Fax: +213 2 68 44 59

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

17 June 1998. SOURCE: Reporters sans frontieres (RSF), Paris.

For further information, contact Djallal Malti or Arno Muller at RSF, rue Geoffroy Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: [email protected], Internet: http://www.rsf.fr

The information contained in this action alert is the sole responsibility of RSF. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.

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