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 Harsh Facebook Posts, Jail and Now Death: A Man’s Fate Angers Algeria

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PostSubject: Harsh Facebook Posts, Jail and Now Death: A Man’s Fate Angers Algeria   Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:37 pm

TUNIS — The Algerian government is coming under criticism for its treatment of a freelance British-Algerian journalist, Mohamed Tamalt, who died in a hospital on Sunday after being imprisoned under a draconian new law that criminalizes offending the president and state institutions.

Mr. Tamalt, 42, was arrested in June, sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and fined for “defaming a public authority” and insulting the president. Posts on his Facebook page had often harshly attacked senior politicians and military officials, including the country’s ailing president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

He went on a hunger strike to protest his incarceration and was hospitalized in August. He spent the last three months in a coma, said Abdelkader Tamalt, his brother.

The prison administration announced that Mohamed Tamalt had suffered a stroke, which had required surgery, and that his condition had deteriorated recently because of a lung infection.

But his brother said that in a visit to the hospital, he saw that Mr. Tamalt had sustained a serious wound to the back of the head, and that he suspected the injury was the cause of his hospitalization and coma.


“When I last saw him in prison, he was O.K., then in hospital he is in a coma,” Mr. Tamalt’s brother said by telephone. “I am sure the injury has something to do with that. The injury that he had at the back of the head is the real reason that he fell into a coma.”

Mr. Tamalt’s death is an embarrassment for Algeria’s authoritarian government, and it exposes the often hidden pressures applied to the independent news media to enforce control.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/world/europe/algeria-facebook-mohamed-tamalt.html?ribbon-ad-idx=5&rref=world/europe&module=Ribbon&version=origin®ion=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Europe&pgtype=article
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