Algerian activist returned from Tunisia jailed for 3 years

Agence France-Presse:

An Algerian activist who had refugee status in Tunisia.
but was mysteriously returned to face trial in Algeria was jailed Friday.

for three years on terror charges, a rights group said.

Slimane Bouhafs “has been sentenced to three years in prison without parole”, said the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD).

Bouhafs, in his 50s, was accused of having contacts with Farhat Mehenni, the exiled head of the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie (MAK) which Algiers classifies as a “terrorist organisation”.

Bouhafs and two co-defendants were tried at the court in the Algiers suburb of Dar El Beida on charges of belonging to and procuring foreign funds for a “terrorist organisation”.

and “undermining national unity”.

The CNLD said the two other defendants, Amazigh (Berber) culture advocate Kamira Nait Sid and former MAK president Bouaziz Ait Chebib.

were handed five and three-year prison terms respectively, without parole.

Bouhafs, a former police officer who converted to Christianity in the 1990s, was sentenced in 2016 to five years in prison for “insulting Islam”.

Tunisian rights groups said the UN had given Bouhafs refugee status in September 2020.

But he disappeared from his home in Tunis on August 25 under “mysterious circumstances”,

according to Amnesty International and some 40 other rights groups.

Citing Algerian media, the groups said Tunisian authorities had handed.

the 54-year-old over to Algeria to face court, several days after his “forced disappearance”.

Amnesty’s Amna Guellali said it was imperative Tunisia carry out an “impartial.

and thorough” investigation into the circumstances of his “kidnapping, forced disappearance and expulsion” despite his status.

and She “said it was “an ominous sign for rights and freedoms in Tunisia.

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