Prior to Christmas we wrote about Abdelhamid Amine aka Nime, jailed in Algeria after posting anti-government cartoons during the Hirak protests that preceded December’s presidential election. The cartoonist was released on January 2nd.
Although he and many other detained protestors walked free last week the charges levelled against him were not dropped, nor were the various equipment and effects from the Creature graphic design studio seized at the time of his arrest returned. Yesterday Nime was in court again to hear the next stage in proceedings. As reported by Comité National pour la Libération des Détenus, the partial amnesty extended to members of Hirak was only half the story, with many still in prison and more prosecutions yet to come. There was therefore little reason to expect his exoneration.
Cartooning For Peace association, Paris and its Swiss foundation in Geneva together with CRNI are disappointed to learn that Nime remains criminalised, albeit with a suspended sentence. While the communal equipment taken from the Creature studio has been handed over, Nime’s personal devices and digital archives remain confiscated, meaning he will not be able to resume his creative work right away. In addition the court levied a small fine of 20,000 DZD.
Our organisations unequivocally condemn the decision and demand Nime’s acquittal.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT IN ENGLISH
LIRE LE DÉCLARATION COMPLÈTE EN FRANÇAIS
“It was cheering to start 2020 with news that Nime had been spared any further time in prison. The conditions reported to us where extremely poor and there were legitimate concerns for his health as a result. Despite his return to friends and family the principle at stake has not changed; this young man has been criminalised merely for making satirical comment about government and military officials. That the court should withhold material in an apparent attempt to prevent further cartoons confirms the very point that he and his fellow members of the Hirak movement want to amplify. The top tier in Algeria may have reshuffled in December but substantive reform is not forthcoming.”Terry Anderson, Acting Executive Director, CRNI