IAPL Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers -“Algeria: Authorities must release defence lawyers and stop assault on right to fair trial “

Algerian authorities must immediately release and drop all charges against three defence lawyers arrested and prosecuted for defending their clients and exercising their right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International today. Abderraouf Arslane’s trial opens on 14 June, more than a year after he was arrested.


Arslane is being tried over charges stemming from his defence of political activists while lawyers Abdelkader Chohra and Yassine Khlifi are being tried for protesting the suspicious death in custody of an activist. All three are currently in pretrial detention pending their trial.

“The authorities’ wrongful arrest and prosecution of these lawyers send the chilling message that defending political prisoners is not tolerated in Algeria,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Algeria is obligated to protect people’s right to a fair trial, which cannot be done without proper legal representation. Lawyers must be permitted to practise their profession and express themselves without fear of arrest and intimidation.”

Abderraouf Arslane was detained on 26 May 2021 in the Court of Tebessa, where he was defending three activists from the Hirak, the mass protest movement that has called for political change in Algeria since 2019. He was held in pre-trial detention amid accusations of ties with the unregistered political movement Rachad and the expression of his opinions online, and charged with “spreading fake news” and terrorist-related offences. His first trial session is scheduled for 15 June 2022, which is more than one year after his arrest.

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Algeria: Authorities must release defence lawyers and stop assault on right to fair trial