- Mentioned Djabelkheir sentenced for 3 posts on Fb questioning authenticity of sure features of Islamic perception
- Scholar has been goal of loss of life threats courting again greater than ten years
- ‘Algerian courts haven’t any enterprise judging individuals’s spiritual beliefs and opinions’ – Amna Guellali
A widely known Islamic skilled in Algeria has been given a three-year jail sentence for “offending” Islam with feedback he posted on Fb, which Amnesty Worldwide has described as a “flagrant violation of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of perception.”
In three Fb posts in January 2020, Mentioned Djabelkheir drew comparisons between Eid al-Adha and the Berber New 12 months celebrations, referred to some tales within the Qur’an as “myths”, and stated he thought-about sure hadiths “apocryphal”.
The Sidi Mhamed Courtroom of First Occasion immediately convicted him of “offending the Prophet of Islam” and “denigrating the dogma or precepts of Islam” below Article 144bis of Algeria’s Penal Code. The court docket sentenced Djabelkheir to a three-year jail time period however didn’t situation a detention order so he has not but been taken into custody. Legal professionals will attraction the choice.
The fees have been introduced after a trainer on the College of Sidi Bel Abbès, who thought-about Djabelkheir’s Fb posts had violated spiritual precepts, pressed costs towards him with the investigative decide of the Sidi Mhamed court docket.
Djabelkheir instructed Amnesty that he was not notified about his prosecution and that he solely discovered of it when mates alerted him in January 2020. The scholar stated that through the course of your entire investigation by the Sidi Mhamed decide he was by no means summoned for interrogation. Neither was he knowledgeable of his trial date, and solely discovered of it by way of Fb posts. His trial passed off on the Sidi Mhamed court docket on 1 April.
For years Djabelkheir has been the sufferer of on-line and offline harassment for peacefully expressing his views. He instructed Amnesty that he has obtained quite a few loss of life threats on Fb since he joined it in 2007.
Amna Guellali, Amnesty Worldwide’s Center East and North Africa Deputy Director, stated:
“It’s outrageous that Mentioned Djabelkheir is dealing with three years in jail merely for voicing his opinions about spiritual texts.
“Punishing somebody for his or her evaluation of non secular doctrines is a flagrant violation of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of perception – even when the feedback are deemed offensive by others.
“Algerian courts haven’t any enterprise judging individuals’s spiritual beliefs and opinions. Mentioned Djabelkheir’s conviction have to be quashed instantly. Any provisions in Algeria’s penal code that criminalise the rights to freedom of expression, opinion or perception have to be urgently repealed.”
Crackdown on dissent
The Algerian authorities have beforehand used Article 144bis of the penal code to crack down on dissent and prosecute activists. On 8 October final yr, a court docket in Khenchla, in jap Algeria, handed down a ten-year jail sentence and a heavy high-quality towards the activist Yacine Mebarki for costs that included “offending the Prophet of Islam”. The decision was later lowered on attraction to 1 yr in jail. In 2016, a court docket in Setif sentenced Slimane Bouhafs, a Christian convert, to 3 years in jail below the identical article for Fb posts criticising spiritual concepts.
Article 19 of the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Algeria is a state social gathering, ensures the proper to freedom of expression and opinion. The UN Human Rights Committee famous in 2011 that “prohibitions of shows of lack of respect for a faith or different perception system, together with blasphemy legal guidelines, are incompatible with the Covenant”.