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Algeria court seeks 10-year sentence for protester who flew Berber flag

Army chief Gaid Salah banned all flags other than the national colours at protests [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 August, 2019

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An Algerian court has demanded a 10 year prison sentence for a protester who flew the Berber flag during recent protests, according to his lawyer.

An Algerian court has demanded a ten year prison sentence for a protester who flew the Berber flag during recent protests, according to his lawyer.

The court in the northeast city of Annaba is seeking a lengthy sentence against Nadir Fetissi after he was arrested for brandishing the minority group's banned flag during a protest last month.

Fetissi's lawyer told local news website TSA on Monday that the public prosecutor has also demanded his client pay a 200,000 ($1,600) Algerian dinar fine for the offence.

He added that the judge will issue a verdict in the case on Thursday.

See Also: Banning Berber flags will only reinforce Algerian solidarity

Army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah has banned all flags other than the national colours at protest rallies, which began in February against former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid to seek a fifth term.

Last month, 41 people were arrested for flying the Berber flag during demonstrations.

Amnesty International condemned the arrests as an "escalating... crackdown on peaceful protesters".

Salah, a longtime ally of Bouteflika, has become Algeria's de facto strongman since the 82-year-old president left office in April following weeks of protests

Algeria's Berber minority has long suffered marginalisation.

The Kabyle, who are the largest Berber minority in Algeria, have long called for greater rights with some separatist movements even calling for an independent Berber state.

In recent years, Algerian authorities have attempted to quell Berber discontent.

The Tamazight language was first given official status in Algeria in 2002, a year after bloody riots left 126 people dead in Kabylie.

Last year, authorities designated Berber New Year as a public holiday.

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