Algeria imprisons protest leader

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One of the leaders of the protests which have rocked Algeria for the past 16 months has been sentenced to a year in prison.

Amira Bouraoui, 44, was convicted on six counts, including “insulting Islam”, “insulting the president” and “incitement to violate lockdown” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Her lawyer, Mustapha Bouchachi, condemned the verdict. “This conviction is unjust, there is no evidence. We are going to appeal,” he told the AFP news agency.

The gynaecologist and mother of two was arrested last Wednesday at her house.

Ms Bouraoui started to gain attention in 2014 when she unsuccessfully opposed former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s attempt to run for a fourth term in office.

Mr Bouteflika was eventually forced not to seek a fifth term in office last year following huge street protests, which Ms Bouraoui helped organise.

Members of the “Hirak” movement such as Ms Bouraoui say that those who wield real power in the country have not changed and corruption and inequality remain rife despite the election of Abdelmadjid Tebboune as president last December.

However, the huge protests continued until the lockdown was imposed.

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