Spanish MEP Urges EU to Condemn Algeria’s ‘Repression of Dissidents’

The MEP wrote a letter a few days after an Algerian court sentenced journalist Khalid Drareni to two years in prison. Photo credit: Khaled Drareni/Twitter

Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Maria Soraya Rodriguez Ramos has called on the European Commission to condemn the “repression of dissidents” in Algeria.

In a written question addressed on September 25 to the Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, Rodriguez tackled “the situation of fundamental rights and freedoms in Algeria.”

“The Algerian authorities continue to repress dissent, using national security laws to quell freedom of expression, thereby infringing the most fundamental of rights,” Rodriguez wrote in the question, published October 20.

“This has occurred without any explicit condemnation on the part of the [European External Action Service] EEAS or the [EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy] VP/HR,” she added.

Rodriguez urged Borell to “assess the human rights situation” in Algeria. According to Rodriguez, Algeria’s “repression of dissidents” breaches respect for fundamental rights, which is one of the five priorities of the EU-Algeria Association Agreement.

The Spanish MEP specifically mentioned the case of Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni. Arrested in March for his coverage of the Hirak popular protest movement, Algeria sentenced Drareni on September 15 to two years in prison and a fine of DZD 200,000 ($1,555).

Algerian prosecution accused Drareni of “inciting unarmed assembly and threatening the integrity of the national territory.”

In her written question, Rodriguez considered Drareni’s sentence to be “unjust.”

“Will the forthcoming political dialogue condemn the unjust sentence handed down to Khaled Drareni and call for his release?” she asked.

The MEP recalled the European Commission’s adoption of Resolution 2019/2927 on November 28, 2019. The resolution, which received the vote of the majority of European deputies, denounced Algeria’s repeated violations of the human rights of its population.

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