Algeria Sidhoum also sentenced on appeal, despite international protest
The Algerian human rights lawyer Amine Sidhoum defends persons suspected of terrorism, whereby he regularly denounces torture and unfair legal proceedings. He also serves the interests of the families of people who have disappeared without a trace. Because of these activities, he is regularly harassed and intimidated.
On 30 May 2004 an article was published in the daily newspaper El Chourouk, in which Sidhoum was quoted saying that one of his clients had spent 30 months in jail because of “an arbitrary decision by the Supreme Court”. The Public Prosecutor was of the opinion that by saying this he was guilty of “discrediting a judicial sentence” and “contempt of government”. Sidhoum denies having said something like that; moreover, on the date of the alleged statement by Sidhoum, the Supreme Court had not even decided on a sentence in the case.
On 13 April 2008, Sidhoum was judged by the local court of Sidi M’Ahmed to a prison sentence of 6 months and a fine of 20,000 Dinaris. Sidhoum appealed the verdict and so did the Public Prosecutor, who had demanded a 2 year prison sentence. On 26 November 2008, despite massive international protest, the initial verdict was reconfirmed by the Court of Appeal in Algiers.
In April 2007, Sidhoum and another human rights lawyer, Hassiba Boumerdessi, were acquitted of passing prohibited items, like business cards, to prisoners who were their clients.
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