Algeria’s symbolic figure of the Hirak protest, Karim Tabbou is to face court on June 1, one of his lawyers, Me Mustapha Bouchachi told AFP. His trial was postponed on Monday April 27 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Bouchachi said ‘‘In this case, Karim Tabbou did not commit an offense punishable by Algerian law. He spoke on a political subject. It is a right which is guaranteed by the Constitution.”
The Algerian justice system is only dealing with cases of prisoners in detention for now. The 46-year old was first detained on September 12 2019, then released on 25 September only to be re-arrested a second time the following day.
Karim Tabbou was charged with “undermining the integrity of the national territory” in the second case. Tabbou is a leading figure in the Hirak protest movement against the Algerian regime.
He was accused particularly for his calls for demonstrations and his publications on social networks, which were in line with the people’s demands.
If found guilty, Tabbou faces five to ten years in prison for having ‘’ knowingly participated in an army demoralization enterprise intended to harm National Defence’‘, according to the Algerian penal code.
A fresh support group ‘‘save Karim Tabbou’‘ launched on April 25, demanded his ‘‘immediate and unconditional release’‘. The group made of intellectuals and human rights activists from the Algerian diaspora, denounced the ‘‘filthy’‘ conditions of Tabbou’s detention that they say ‘‘endanger his life’‘.