Accessibility links

Breaking News

Algerian Police Release Dissident Writer

One of Algeria's most prominent writers, Lazhari Labter, said Tuesday that he had been set free, days after he was arrested for reasons that remain unclear.

The 70-year-old, who played a prominent role in the North African country's 2019 Hirak protests that unseated longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, had been arrested by police officers on November 20, according to his family.

On Tuesday, Labter's own Facebook page carried a post sending "a very big thank you" to those who had expressed "their solidarity, their support in the difficult times that I have known these last days."

He said he was back with loved ones and needed rest but vowed to stay "loyal to my principles of justice and freedom."

Labter, a prolific journalist, editor and poet, is known for penning the "18 commandments" of the 2019 protests, urging peaceful demonstrations against the authorities.

He has also published some 40 books, including poetry, and two comic novels.

The author, who has worked for the International Federation of Journalists, is a former president of Algeria's editors' union and was a founding member of the national journalists' syndicate.

According to local rights group LADDH, several Algerian journalists remain in the country's prisons, either having been convicted or awaiting trial.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Algeria 134th out of 180 in its 2022 World Press Freedom Index.