08 March 2017

Algeria: Don't Prosecute a Writer for Insulting Islam

Algeria's prosecutor's office should drop its criminal blasphemy investigation of a writer over his 2016 novel, Human Rights Watch said today. The Algerian authorities should uphold freedom of expression and take immediate steps to abolish the blasphemy law.

The judicial police in Tipaza, a city 70 kilometers from Algiers, interrogated Anouar Rahmani, a 25-year-old law student and novelist, on February 28, 2017. They told him that the public prosecutor had opened an investigation into "The City of White Shadows," a novel he published online in August 2016. They filed a report accusing him of insulting Islam in his novel. Rahmani is free pending a decision by the prosecutor on whether to charge him.

"It is not the business of the prosecutor to question the author about their religious beliefs," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. [AllAfrica] Read more