Target: Algerian Justice Minister Tayeb Louh
Goal: Release Dahmane Kerami, arrested for staging a peaceful protest against fracking and promoting labour rights.
An Algerian activist is serving a year-long sentence for participating in a peaceful protests against fracking, and in favor of greater workers’ rights. Dahmane Kerami was convicted of rebellion, taking part in unarmed gatherings, and inciting others to join unarmed gatherings by an Algerian court along with six other co defendants. While those convicted alongside Kerami were recently freed, he remains imprisoned. This is despite the fact that all he did was peacefully exercise his human right to self expression.
The protests that Kerami participated in were in support of gold miners who had recently been laid off by a local mining company as well as protests highlighting the negative environmental effects of fracking for natural gas in his region. While his actions should not be against the law, Algerian law contains provisions that make “unarmed gatherings,” “offending the president,” and “offending public bodies” criminal acts. Sign our petition and demand the immediate release of Dahmane Kerami, and an end to these laws that stifle the human right to freedom of expression.
I was dismayed to hear of the continued detention of Dahmane Kerami. I believe his arrest and conviction highlights the need to ensure that the Algerian legal code conforms to and respects the human right to self expression. Kerami is a prisoner of conscience. He was jailed solely for peacefully expressing his beliefs. I urge you to release him immediately and unconditionally.
Furthermore, I urge you to review articles 97, 144, and 146 of the Algerian penal code. These laws represent a wholesale repression of the right to self expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly. It is unconscionable to empower law enforcement to violate the basic human rights of people. The people of Algeria must be free to peacefully assemble. A country that does not distinguish between those that wish to express themselves peacefully, and those that would do so violently only helps those that would commit violence.
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Photo Credit: Still Burning