Algerian blogger dies in prison after hunger strike

December 11, 2016 10:30 pm

This file photo shows Algerian-British blogger Mohamed Tamalt.

An Algerian blogger who had been on hunger strike behind bars for three months has died, his lawyer says.
“I can confirm the death of the journalist Mohamed Tamalt in Bab el-Oued hospital after a hunger strike of more than three months and a three-month coma,” Amine Sidhoum said on Facebook on Sunday.
Tamalt, a blogger and freelance journalist who was also of British nationality, was arrested on June 27 near his parents’ house in the capital Algiers. He was charged with “offending” President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and “defaming a public authority” in a poem which he had shared on Facebook.
The blogger was slapped with a two-year jail term and a fine of 200,000 dinars (USD 1,800). He launched the hunger strike after an appeals court upheld the ruling a month later.
He used to run a website in London where he routinely published his articles and poems.
Rights campaigners had urged to release the blogger, saying the arrest and jail sentence showed Algiers’ intolerance of freedom of speech. The US-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement in August when Tamalt was reportedly in critical condition, saying the legal case against him had to be quashed.
Prison authorities have denied Tamalt’s death was related to his hunger strike, saying he died of a lung infection for which he was receiving treatment since it was detected on December 4.
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