First Published: 2017-09-13

Watchdog says Algerian journalist jailed 100 days 'too many'
Said Chitour has been held without trial since intelligence services arrested him at Algiers airport on June 5.
Middle East Online

Chitour is accused of passing confidential documents to foreign diplomats.

ALGIERS - Press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has denounced Algeria's arrest since June of a freelance journalist and fixer as "100 days too many" and demanded his release.

Said Chitour, who has worked for the BBC and the Washington Post among others, has been held without trial since intelligence services arrested him at Algiers airport on June 5, RSF said.

"The request for his release that his lawyer filed at the end of July has been rejected. No trial date has so far been set," the watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday.

"One hundred days of provisional detention are 100 days too many, 100 days of incomprehension and injustice, because there are no grounds for keeping Said Chitour in prison," it said.

RSF said it was "appalled" by his continued detention in the Algerian capital's El Harrach prison.

"When provisional detention is extended without any reason and without a trial date, the detention becomes arbitrary and the principle of the presumption of innocence is flouted. We call for Chitour's immediate release," it said.

Defence lawyer Khaled Bourayou said Chitour, who is suspected of passing confidential documents to foreign diplomats, was to face a final interrogation before being referred to "probably a criminal court".

RSF said Chitour was being held under Article 65 of the penal code, which provides for "life imprisonment for anyone who, with the intention of passing them to a foreign power, gathers intelligence, objects, documents or processes whose compilation and use are liable to harm the nation's defence or economy".

His lawyer said no confidential document traded hands and he expected Chitour to be exonerated.

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in July that Chitour's arrest "appears to be an attempt to keep information about Algeria out of the international press".

RSF, which ranks Algeria 134rd out of 180 countries on its press freedom index, charged in June that the North African country used "harassment" and "threats" to pressure journalists.

 

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

Syria Kurds vote to cement federal push

Rouhani vows Iran will boost missiles despite US criticism

Yemen leader promises UN to open entire country to aid

Gemstone purchase essential for Najaf pilgrims

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made

Police charge teenager over London Underground attack

Nigerian official to meet Turkish counterpart over illegal guns

Thousands feared trapped in Raqa as IS mounts last stand

Iraqi forces achieve first step in new offensive on IS

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish Black Sea coast leaving four dead, 20 missing

Trump praises 'friend' Erdogan

Russia clashes with EU over Syria

UN sets up probe of IS war crimes in Iraq

US, Iranian top diplomats confront each other for first time

Air strikes kill 22 civilians in northwest Syria in 48 hours

Iranian supreme leader lashes out at Trump UN speech

Thousands of Huthi supporters mark 3 years since Sanaa takeover

Iraq attacks all remaining IS territory at once

Moscow accuses US of hitting Syrian regime forces

Turkey jails lawyers representing hunger striking teachers

Turkey, Iran and Iraq make joint threat against Kurd vote

Syrian Kurds to hold first local elections in federal push

Qatari expats lauded as statesmen by Arab critics

Shipwreck off Libyan coast leaves over 100 migrants missing

Will Turkey’s opposition to Kurdish state translate into action?

US ups the ante on Iraq Kurds

Macron: Iran nuclear deal no longer enough

Trump’s mind made up on Iran but refuses to divulge

Scores of Iraqis missing during war against ISIS

Netanyahu rejects calls for mixed gender worship at Western Wall

Russia accuses US of missile treaty breach

Iran TV translator mocked for watering down Trump speech

Saudi Arabia hopes Kurdish referendum will not take place

Saudi invites women to sports stadium for first time

Saudi set to create $2.7 billion investment company

Humanitarian disaster grips Yemen three years since Houthi takeover

What will become of Iraq’s Hawija after ISIS?

Multi-ethnic Kirkuk tense ahead of referendum

UN awaits Iran’s defence against Trump nuclear deal threats

US-backed SDF seizes 90% of Syria's Raqa

Man hanged in Iran for rape, murder of child