According to AFP, the Sidi M’Hamed court in Algiers has sentenced high-profile Algerian journalist Ihsane El Kadi to three years in prison for “foreign financing of his business.”
El Kadi, who owns one of the few independent media groups in the country and is known for his criticism of the government, was given a sentence of five years, three of which he must serve in jail, the court ruled on Sunday.
In addition, the court has dissolved Interface Media, which operates Maghreb Emergent and the other outlet El Kadi runs, Radio M. The court also imposed fines totalling 11.7 million Algerian dinars ($86,200) on the company and on El Kadi himself.
El Kadi’s arrest in December last year has been widely condemned by human rights organizations and journalists’ rights groups. His defence team had dismissed the foreign funding charges. They argued that the only foreign transfer to El Kadi’s company had been from his daughter, who lives in the United Kingdom.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called El Kadi’s arrest an affront to independent media in Algeria and called on authorities to “cease their harassment of the press.”