In Algeria, Karim Tabbou, figure of Hirak, again targeted by justice

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By John

New episode in a long series of lawsuits in Algeria. Figure of Hirak, a popular movement started in 2019 to block the fifth term of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (1999-2019), Karim Tabbou was placed under judicial supervision, Thursday, May 25, after two nights in police custody. Four charges are brought against him, but his lawyers have no further details. “Our client was presented alone and defenseless. We still don’t know what his file contains.”told the World Toufik Belala, member of the defense collective.

Karim Tabbou, coordinator of the unauthorized Democratic and Social Union (UDS) party, was arrested by plainclothes agents on Tuesday in Dely Brahim, a town in the wilaya of Algiers. “We do not know which institution belong [ceux qui l’ont interpellé] »alerted the same day Me Belala. Several hours after his arrest, Karim Tabbou was able to call his family and his defense to inform them of his placement in police custody. Warned by the lawyers, the public prosecutor at the Bir Mourad Raïs court indicated that he was not aware of the case.

“More than 48 hours after the arrest of political opponent Karim Tabbou, we still do not know who arrested him or the competent court” in front of which he will be presented, once again alerted Me Bella on Facebook: “Therefore, we consider his arrest and custody to be against the law. […] It is an act of political motivation […] We therefore demand his immediate release. »

After two nights in police custody, the fifty-year-old was finally presented Thursday before the Koléa court, about thirty kilometers west of Algiers. After his presentation to the prosecutor, he was brought before the investigating judge, who decided to place him under judicial control. His lawyers only learned of this decision after he left court, after a phone call from their client.

A program with Moncef Marzouki

According to Me Belala, Karim Tabbou is prosecuted “for having participated in the broadcast of the Al Magharibia channel, on May 7, with former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki”. Al Magharibia, which broadcasts from abroad, was founded by Osama Madani, son of the late Abassi Madani, who was chairman of the former Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) party. As for Moncef Marzouki, he presided over Tunisia from 2011 to 2014 after the fall of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. Now an opponent of the current head of state, Kaïs Saïed, he has repeatedly made provocative remarks towards Algeria and President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, whom he accuses of interference in Tunisian affairs.

Since the beginning of Hirak, Karim Tabbou has been in the sights of justice several times. In March 2020, he was sentenced to one year in prison (including six months) for “undermining national integrity” because of a video posted on his party’s Facebook account, where he criticized the military’s interference in political affairs. The sentence had been increased on appeal two days before his release, which forced him to remain behind bars until July 2020.

According to the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD), dozens of people linked to the Hirak or the defense of individual freedoms are today imprisoned in Algeria.