After being arrested in his studio in Oran over a week ago, the graphic designer and cartoonist Abdelhamid Amine aka Nime was found guilty of “insulting” figures of the state earlier today.
Prosecutors had requested eighteen months hard time but the ultimate sentence was for one year’s imprisonment with nine months suspended, information confirmed in a statement from Nime’s colleagues.
Nime’s plight may be added to the long list of troubling developments for Algerian cartoonists, from the bullying and blacklisting in the same city of Oran as reported by Nour el Yakine Ferhaoui to the arrest of Tahar Djehiche on charges similar to those levelled at Nime and all the way back to the prosecution of Ali Dilem that led to our giving him an award for courage in 2006.
Tomorrow’s presidential election and the crackdown on the months-long “hirak” protest movement provide the clear context for Nime’s arrest and his is just one case among many as the country braces itself for further unrest and a potential redoubling of authoritarianism.
“CRNI is dismayed to find that Nime’s freedom of expression has been so harshly and definitively curtailed and we extend our solidarity to his friends and colleagues in Oran.”Terry Anderson, Acting Executive Director