At least 35 prisoners of conscience have been released in the past 24 hours in Algeria after a pardon granted by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD) said on Saturday.
Friday evening, the Ministry of Justice announced the release of 33 people prosecuted for “acts related to the use of social networks”, adding that procedures were underway for other detainees. He provided no further figures on Saturday.
The CNLD, an association that helps prisoners of conscience, also reported releases on Saturday.
The releases of prisoners, including well-known Hirak activists, took place in several regions on the eve of the 2nd anniversary of this popular uprising on February 22.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Thursday decreed a series of measures to respond to the political crisis shaking Algeria, including the release of about sixty prisoners of conscience, a gesture of appeasement addressed to the popular protest movement.
According to the latest figures from the CNLD before these releases, some 70 people were detained in connection with Hirak and / or individual freedoms.
Among those released on Friday are the opponent Rachid Nekkaz and the journalist Khaled Drareni, who has become a symbol of the fight for press freedom.
“My fight (for the freedom of the press) will continue,” he told the French-speaking channel TV5, for which he is the correspondent in Algeria.
The European Union hailed “the excellent news of the release of a large number of detainees by presidential pardon in Algeria”. “A decision which recognizes the importance of freedom of expression and pluralism in the democratic process”.
After several rallies in the provinces this week, calls to demonstrate on Monday across the country, especially in Algiers, for the Hirak anniversary, are circulating on social networks.
The Hirak had to suspend its weekly demonstrations in March due to the coronavirus epidemic.