Algerian man jailed for filming police officers stealing

Ahram Online, Tuesday 2 Sep 2014

Two-year-sentence for the Berber man comes as sectarian violence between Berbers and Arabs continues in Ghardaia

Algeria has jailed a man for two years after he posted a video of policemen stealing during clashes in the Ghardaia desert region, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Youssef Ouled Dadaa, a Berber, was charged for publishing photographs and videos that negatively affect Algeria's national interest and "contempt of the authorities."

Dadaa who is a social media expert, had published a video showing three police officers while they were stealing in Ghardaia's Qarara, which is located 120 kilometers from Ghardaia's city centre.

In the video, the police officers seems to have taken advantage of the unrest that forced residents to leave their homes and their shops when they fled Ghardaia.

Ghardaia has been a scene of sectarian violence between the region's indigenous Berbers and the Arabs, known as Chaambas, that have killed at least nine people and wounded more than 400 in the past six months, AFP reported.

One of Dadaa's lawyers, called Tuesday's ruling "harsh" and said it would do nothing to calm the situation.

"In this trial, instead of investigating the reality of the facts, the wrong person is being prosecuted," he said.

Ghardaia's two communities have lived together for centuries, but tensions spiked when vandals destroyed a historic Berber shrine in late December.

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