An Algerian blogger named Merzoug Touati was just sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime of interviewing an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman.
His lawyer told local media that the conviction came from charges of sharing sensitive intelligence information with the Israeli — but that the charge was untrue.
An appeal is in process in the mostly Muslim nation. But the blogger, 30, is behind bars, while his appeal goes forward.
Israel National News has more:
An Algerian blogger has appealed a 10-year prison term imposed on him for interviewing an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, his lawyer said on Sunday, according to AFP.
The blogger, Merzoug Touati, was convicted on Thursday of providing intelligence to “agents of a foreign power” likely to damage Algeria, by a court in Bejaia, east of Algiers.
The 30-year-old blogger submitted his appeal the following day and was feeling “optimistic”, his lawyer Boubakeur Esseddik Hamaili said.
“I have seen my client, he is doing well and is a tower of strength. He proclaims his innocence as he has done nothing but exercise his rights guaranteed by the constitution,” the lawyer added.
Touati has been in prison since his arrest in January 2017 over an online video interview with an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman. He was also under arrest for a Facebook post in which he called for protests against a new financial law, reported AFP.
During his trial the court dropped three additional charges including incitement against the state, which his lawyer said carries the death sentence.
The 10-year jail term was described as “utterly shocking” by Amnesty International, which said Touati had been convicted “solely for expressing his peaceful opinion online”.
Reporters Without Borders also condemned the sentence as “disproportionate and unjustified” and said a social network post should not lead to imprisonment.
Hamaili did not confirm when his client’s appeal would be heard in court.
Algeria, like many Muslim states, does not have relations with Israel. In April, an Algerian court sentenced eight people to 10 years in prison over espionage for Israel.
The eight were arrested in an operation carried out by the Algerian police in 2015 in the city of Ghardaia, 600 kilometers south of Algiers, and were allegedly found with documents and communications equipment related to espionage for Israel.
Last January, Algeria claimed it uncovered an international spy network made up of 10 members that was operating for Israel and was based in southern Algeria.
The Truth Must be Told
Your contribution supports independent journalism
Please take a moment to consider this. Now, more than ever, people are reading Geller Report for news they won't get anywhere else. But advertising revenues have all but disappeared. Google Adsense is the online advertising monopoly and they have banned us. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have blocked and shadow-banned our accounts. But we won't put up a paywall. Because never has the free world needed independent journalism more.
Everyone who reads our reporting knows the Geller Report covers the news the media won't. We cannot do our ground-breaking report without your support. We must continue to report on the global jihad and the left's war on freedom. Our readers’ contributions make that possible.
Geller Report's independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our work is critical in the fight for freedom and because it is your fight, too.
Please contribute to our ground-breaking work here.
Make a monthly commitment to support The Geller Report – choose the option that suits you best.