New campaign launched to defend independent press against judicial threats

first_img May 18, 2021 Find out more At a press conference held today at its Paris headquarters with the Algerian Press Freedom Collective, Reporters Without Borders reiterated its call to the Algerian authorities to stop judicial harassment of the privately-owned press and to release Le Matin editor Mohamed Benchicou, who has been in prison for exactly one year.At the same time, the Algerian Press Freedom Collective and the newspaper L’Humanité called for a protest rally outside the Algerian embassy in Paris at 6 p.m. tomorrow, the anniversary of Benchicou’s arrest.Reporters Without Borders accused the judicial authorities of using the Tuesday sessions of the magistrate’s court in the Algiers district of Sidi M’hamed to convict journalists of press offences. “There has not been such a harsh crackdown on the press for years,” the press freedom organisation said. “The number of independent news outlets is shrinking fast and press freedom is now in great danger in Algeria.”The organisation said it appealed to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s common sense, pointing out that on 3 May the president said, “the national institutions are not against press freedom.”Reporters Without Borders roundly condemned the application of prison sentences in libel cases and reiterated its call for press offences to be decriminalized by means of a reform of the criminal code, as requested by the UN special rapporteur for the right to freedom of opinion and expression.Article 144 (b) of the criminal codes makes insulting or defaming the president punishable by 2-12 months in prison, in order to silence his critics, and permits the imposition of often exorbitant fines with the sole aim of squeezing independent newspapers out of existence.Benchicou, whose daily newspaper, Le Matin, has been forced to close, has always been outspoken in his criticism of the authorities. Although his health has deteriorated in prison, his request for release on medical grounds was rejected on 10 April. Five other Le Matin journalists have been given prison sentences, in a clear sign that the government is bent on eliminating one of the country’s most independent newspapers for good.In addition to Benchicou’s release, Reporters Without Borders said it also called for the release of Er-Raï El Aam press group president Amhed Benaoum, who has been imprisoned since 28 June 2004, an end to all libel prosecutions and a discharge for all convicted journalists.The latest of many Algerian journalists to get prison sentences recently is Djamaldine Benchenouf, who lives in exile in France. The Sétif appeal court sentenced him in absentia to three years in prison for two articles he wrote for the Liberté daily newspaper about embezzlement within the National Social Insurance Fund and the General Union of Algerian Workers.The sentence was imposed although a lower court investigating judge shelved the case in July 2004 and Benchenouf never received any subsequent summons notifying them that it had been reopened. His family, which is still in Algeria, has received repeated summonses and have been subject to other forms of administrative harassment since the outset.Liberté’s former editor, Farid Alilat, was sentenced in absentia on 24 May to a year in prison and a fine of 100,000 dinars (1,100 euros) for a series of cartoons and a column in 2003 that were deemed “insulting to the president.”The managing editor of the evening newspaper Le Soir d’Algérie, Fouad Boughanem, and one of his columnists, Hakim Laâlam, were sentenced by an Algiers court on 17 May to two years in prison and a fine of 250,000 dinars (2,750 euros) for libel. The newspaper was also fined the same amount.Four Le Matin journalists were given prison sentences in libel actions on 19 April. They were Abla Cherif and Hassane Zerrouky, who got two months, and Youcef Rezzoug and Yasmine Ferroukhi, who got three months. The same day, Benchicou received an additional five-month prison sentence.Meanwhile, the Jean Picollec publishing house, which published a book by Benchicou called “Bouteflika: an Algerian impostor,” was the target of a recent attack in which its front door was broken down with a sledge hammer. Nothing was taken and the only thing damaged inside was a poster about the book. Algeria : Reporter jailed after covering Tuareg protests in southern Algeria Algeria pressures reporters by delaying renewal of accreditation At a press conference held today at its Paris headquarters with the Algerian Press Freedom Collective, Reporters Without Borders reiterated its call to the Algerian authorities to stop judicial harassment of the privately-owned press and to release Le Matin editor Mohamed Benchicou, who has been in prison for exactly one year. Receive email alerts RSF_en AlgeriaMiddle East – North Africa News Follow the news on Algeria April 29, 2021 Find out more AlgeriaMiddle East – North Africa May 12, 2021 Find out more Harassment of Algerian reporters intensifies in run-up to parliamentary elections News June 13, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 New campaign launched to defend independent press against judicial threats Help by sharing this information News News to go further Organisation last_img read more

Communities in fear highlights need for garda stations

first_imgNewsLocal NewsCommunities in fear highlights need for garda stationsBy admin – January 29, 2013 651 Email AS GARDAI withdraw from the talks on a proposed extension to the Croke Park deal, and as fear begins to show throughout the country in light of the murder of det garda Adrian Donohue last week, TD’s, local representatives and the public at large are calling on Minister Alan Shatter to put a halt on the closure of 100 garda stations in Irleand, and six in Limerick.  Willie O’Dea, Fianna Fail TD, has slammed the closure of Mary Street Garda station this week calling it “a dreadful decision by the Government. The fact that this is one of the oldest Garda stations in the country and is located in the heart of a regeneration area, parts of which in the past have been unfortunately associated with gangland activity, makes the decision all the more ludicrous.”Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Previously, councillor John Gilligan, said that the “garda retreat from the inner city is a worrying development”. Niall Collins, FF spokesperson on Justice has again called on Minister Shatter to “put aside his plan to close the garda stations, to cut resources and to further cut the member numbers. On Budget Day last December, as part of the Garda Consolidations programme, it was announced that districts would be merged and stations would close including six in Limerick. Galbally, Kilfinnane, Castletown/Conyers, Kilmeedy, Tournafoulla and the city centre station at Mary Street. Niall Collins said that; “The Minister sneakily announced this slash and burn on Budget day, hoping it seems that people wouldn’t pay too much attention.  He is sorely mistaken.  Removing the garda presence from our communities on such a large-scale at a time when the rate of burglaries has increased makes absolutely no sense.  The presence of a local garda station, however small, acts as a deterrent to criminals who target vulnerable households. “Limerick has fared one of the worst in Minister Shatter’s hit list. We will have 6 less garda stations and many of our communities will have lost their local station. Minister Shatter countered that; “It is, of course, previous Fianna Fail led Governments which are responsible for the financial disaster that has impacted on the State and has so severely effected the lives of everyone who resides in the State”, adding that it was the previous Government that agreed with the Troika the expenditure reductions and reductions in Garda numbers.“If I were Deputy Niall Collins, I would refrain from making hypocritical comment and engaging in self-serving disingenuous political rhetoric based on the assumption that the general public is suffering from amnesia.  It is time that he acknowledged that it is his Party that is responsible for the position in which we find ourselves”.But as the political football continues to be kicked around, Deputy O’Dea reminded that the fear of gang reprisals and an upsurgance is still very real according to his information. “As I have stated previously, it is my understanding that some of the remnants of the gangs in Limerick are getting together in an attempt to re-establish themselves to their former strength and with the closure of Garda stations like Mary Street combined with the reduction in overall Garda numbers, this could bring the gangland problem right back to where it was a few years ago.“Lets not forget, that it was as a result of long hours of painstaking policing by Gardai, including those based at Mary St, that the problem has thankfully abated in recent times, but as we witnessed with the callous murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in Louth last weekend, gangland crime is a constant threat to society.“Since 2011, Limerick has lost 40 members of An Garda Síochána who have not been replaced and there are no Detective Inspectors at all in the Limerick division and there is a reduction of 18 in the number of Sergeants.”Deputy O’Dea concluded, “The closure of Mary street Garda station is another open invitation from Minister Alan Shatter to potential gangland kingpins to takeover where predecessors left off. The underhand, dishonest way in which these cuts are being foisted upon An Garda Síochána tells us all we need to know about Mr. Shatter and his priorities. At a time when we should be maintaining all Garda stations and Garda strength in Limerick, we are now facilitating criminals to once again potentially gain the upper hand.” Facebook Advertisement Previous articleLimerick models launch new Gathering stampNext articleUL well beaten in Sigerson Cup admincenter_img Twitter Print WhatsApp Linkedinlast_img read more

News story: Home Office announces revised immigration policy guidance for Grenfell relatives

first_img The Grenfell Tower fire was a tragedy that should never have happened. Our highest priority has been to ensure the survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy receive the support they need. We have always been clear that we will do everything we can to make sure that relatives who are required to provide evidence in person, or need to be in the UK to participate in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry are able to do so. That is why we have published this revised guidance today, to ensure those with Core Participant status are able to extend their stay. Revised policy guidance for Grenfell relatives published today states that people with core participant status or those called to be a witness at the Inquiry who are already in the country, will be able to extend their stay in the UK for a further 6 months.This is to provide certainty for relatives that they will be able to remain for the anticipated period of the Inquiry’s oral evidence sessions.Family members who are overseas with core participant status, who are required to attend or are called as a witness who apply for a visit visa, should also be assured that these applications will be considered quickly on a case by case basis, taking into account the compelling and compassionate circumstances.Core participants are people or organisations, who have applied for that status because they have a significant interest in proceedings or could be subject to scrutiny. A core participant can be invited to participate during the Inquiry, for example by making statements or suggesting lines of questioning to be pursued.The Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes said: Today’s announcement builds on the Grenfell survivors’ immigration policy which was introduced in July last year to allow individuals with insecure immigration status who lost their homes in the fire to regularise their status and access support.Later that year, it was announced that those qualifying under the policy will be able to apply for permanent residence in the UK after 5 years’ lawful residence.You can read further information relating to the fire at Grenfell Tower and the full Grenfell relatives’ policy guidance on GOV.UKlast_img read more