An independent journalist and fervent press freedom advocate, Ihsane El Kadi is the director of the Algerian radio station Radio M and the news website Maghreb Émergent, media outlets that are critical of the authorities and the military in Algeria. He has for years been the target of political and judicial harassment and growing intimidation by the authorities, which have included arrests and criminal proceedings. This time, after being summoned twice in November for questioning by the security services, he was taken into custody on 24 December, his two media outlets were shut down the next day, and he was transferred to prison four days later.
On 15 January, a court confirmed his detention as part of an investigation into “illegal fund raising” and “endangering state security,” stunning his family, colleagues and lawyers, who had been told the hearing would be held on 18 January and were not notified of the change, so they were not in court to present the defence’s arguments. “This was a violation of the right of defence,” one of his lawyers said.
El Kadi’s arrest set off a big outcry and has given rise to a major international support campaign, waged in particular by RSF, which referred the case to the United Nations and organised a joint appeal for his release by 16 international media owners and editors, including Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. Continue