4 December 2003


RSF calls for dismissal of case against journalist Hassan Bourras

Incident details

Hassan Bourras


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(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has urged an Algerian court to dismiss a case against journalist Hassan Bourras. The journalist was sentenced to two years in prison on 6 November 2003 but was temporarily released on 2 December after the plaintiff failed to appear in court.

The case, which also saw Bourras banned from practicing his profession for five years, constitutes "one of the worst press freedom violations in Algeria in years," RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard said.

Bourras, a correspondent in El Bayadh, western Algeria, for several dailies, including the Oran-based regional paper "El Djazaïri" and the national daily "El Youm", was jailed for "defamation" by a local court over two articles he wrote for "El Djazaïri" about corruption.

A court in Saida temporarily released him on 2 December, at the request of his lawyers. Since the plaintiff did not show up for the court hearing, it was postponed until 23 December.

Calling for the case to be dismissed, Ménard said, "Bourras should be given back his freedom and allowed to resume his work as a journalist as soon as possible. It would be a travesty of justice for a journalist to be sentenced so severely for defamation when he was only doing his job."

The journalist is also a correspondent for the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights. He was convicted following a complaint by the local prosecutor about two articles that appeared in "El Djazaïri". One article said the prosecutor's wife had forged a document in order to obtain a job and the other reported on a land scandal implicating high-ranking El Bayadh officials. Bourras has documented proof of his accusations and witnesses who back up his story.


Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
rsf (@) rsf.org
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51
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