Target: Justice Minister Tayeb Louh
Goal: Release Algerian activists arrested for peaceful demonstration
A group of Algerian activists have been convicted of holding an, ‘armed gathering’ and committing violence against the police. The group was arrested during a peaceful protest in the southern city of Laghouat. The trial was a sham in which a number of the defendants were not allowed in the courtroom and others were not allowed to challenge evidence presented against them. The courts seem to have made the conviction based upon the verbal testimony of police officers that arrested them.
All 26 of the defendants were found guilty after a one-day trial, with sentences ranging from six months to two years. Many of the accused denied taking part in the violence, while others denied being at the protest at all. None of the violent images shown in court could be tied to any of the defendants. During the one-day court session, the police guarding the courthouse singled out activists and barred them entry from proceedings. This is a violation of their freedom of information. It is also a violation of international human rights laws.
The simple fact that these individuals were activists is the reason why they were convicted. The government of Algeria must do all that it can to release these men without consequence. Doing so would show the international community that the Algerian government is serious about protecting the rights of all Algerians. Sign this petition to call for the release of these innocent activists.
Dear Minister Tayeb Louh,
The recent conviction of 26 activists in a sham trial is a human rights travesty. The simple fact that these individuals were activists is the reason why they were convicted. There is no evidence connecting those charged with the crimes they were charged with. Utilizing only police testimony in convicting these activists is a violation of international human rights law.
In addition, the defendants were not allowed to defend themselves against the evidence presented against them. In some cases, defendants were not even allowed within the courtroom. This is no way for a court to behave and no way for a civilized country to hand down justice. I ask that you immediately reverse these convictions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gwenael Piasner via Flickr