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Algerian court convicts Berber activist for 2014 remarks

Berber activist Selim Yezza was slapped with a one-year suspended sentence [Twitter]

Date of publication: 7 August, 2018

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Salim Yezza had previously denounced 'Islamo-Arab violence' against the Berber ethnic minority in his home province of Ghardaia.
An Algerian court has convicted a Berber humans rights activist for allegedly inciting violence more than four years ago.

A Ghardaia court sentenced Salim Yezza to a one-year suspended prison sentence on Tuesday and fined him $115 (100,000 Algerian dinars). 

His lawyer, Kouceila Zerguine, said on Facebook that he will appeal.

Yezza, who lives in France, was arrested on 16 July at the airport in Biskra as he tried to return home after attending his father's funeral.

In 2014 Yezza denounced "Islamo-Arab violence" against Mozabites, a Berber ethnic minority centred in Ghardaia. 

Ghardaia has seen a number of fierce clashes between Chaamba Arabs and Mozabite Berbers in recent years owing to competition over scarce jobs, land and housing.

The communities are also divided along religious lines - Sunni Arabs and Ibadi Berbers.

Tensions first arose in the 1960s when Arab Bedouin tribes were encouraged to settle in Berber-majority areas such as Ghardaia, and clashes between the two communities continue to erupt frequently.

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