Algeria’s president announces “pardon measures” for nearly 15,000 prisoners, including protest detainees

The President of Algeria, Abdelmayid Tebune, has announced “measures of grace” for about 15,000 prisoners, including people arrested during the anti-government demonstrations that have taken place during the last months in the African country, in the framework of the mobilizations started in 2019, which led to the fall of the then president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

According to information gathered by the Algerian state news agency, APS, Tebune has signed a total of five decrees following a recommendation by the Superior Council of the Magistracy affecting 14,914 detainees “definitively convicted of common law crimes and tried in cases for theft, attack on real estate and use of social networks for subversive purposes.”

The president has also recommended measures to reduce the sentences of persons tried for “acts of vandalism”, by which the authorities refer to members of the civil movement ‘Hirak’ participating in the mobilizations, harshly repressed by the security forces.

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Thus, the detainees concerned will benefit from a sentence reduction of 18 months, if they are under 65 years old, and 24 months if they are over 65 years old, while those who remain on the run will also benefit from a 24-month reduction in their sentences.

On the other hand, fourteen prisoners have had their death sentence commuted to a 20-year sentence, while 27 persons sentenced to life imprisonment have had their sentences commuted to 20 years’ imprisonment. In addition, 40 prisoners suffering from cancer or kidney failure will have their sentences reduced by 24 months.

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Hundreds of people have been arrested in recent months for crimes of opinion and for participating in anti-government protests, which increased on the occasion of the June 2021 legislative elections, marked by the boycott of several opposition parties, critical of Tebune’s management since his arrival in power in December 2019.

The results of the legislative elections were marred by a turnout close to 23 percent, the lowest in the country’s history, amid the general malaise among the population against the political and economic elites and the deep economic crisis in which the African country is mired.

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