Algeria court seeks three years in jail for blogger

AFP , Thursday 14 Jun 2012

An Algerian prosecutor requests a three-year in jail against blogger Tarek Mameri who posted videos on his blog calling for a boycott of last month's parliamentary election

An Algiers prosecutor has requested a three-year prison sentence against a blogger who called for a boycott of the May 10 legislative polls, a defence lawyer said Thursday.

"The prosecutor requested a three-year prison term against Tarek Mameri during a court hearing that took place on Wednesday," Salah Debbouz told AFP.

Mameri, 23, was detained on May 2 for posting videos on his blog calling for a boycott of last month's parliamentary election -- and on charges of destroying property and "setting administrative documents on fire."

"Yes, I destroyed electoral placards and burned my voter's card... I opted to do that rather than immolate myself," the young blogger told the state prosecutor last month.

The verdict in the case is expected on 27 June.

Critics of last month's election say the ruling National Liberation Front's victory was never in doubt.

Other contenders in the election were widely seen as bogus parties recently founded to create an illusion of democracy or older parties co-opted by the regime.

Many Algerians opted to boycott the vote as a way of protesting the status quo in the oil-rich north African nation at a time when the Arab Spring was bringing sweeping political change to other countries in the region.

Official election results put the turnout at 43 percent, a figure that opposition parties and experts argued was grossly inflated.

An Algerian court last month sentenced a Yemeni Salafist imam to six months in jail, a $1,300 fine and a 10-year ban on visiting Algeria for having issued a religious edict urging voters to boycott the election.

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