Algerian journalist Anis Rahmani, whose real name is Mohamed Mokaddem, was arrested in February on offences including “breach of exchange regulations”.
The head of Algeria’s top private media group was jailed for five years on Sunday, the company said, the toughest sentence handed to a press mogul in the North African country.
Anis Rahmani, chief of the Ennahar group, is the latest figure close to the clan of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be handed a heavy penal sentence.
He was accused of recording and broadcasting a telephone conversation with a senior intelligence officer, resulting in a range of charges including “defamation of the army” and recording communications without consent.
“Five years’ prison for Anis Rahmani in the Colonel Ismail case,” Ennahar said in a tweet, adding that he had also been fined 100,000 dinars ($770).
Rahmani, whose real name is Mohamed Mokaddem, was arrested in February on offences including “breach of exchange regulations”, “blackmail to gain undue advantage” and “holding foreign bank accounts”, according to several Algerian private media outlets.
He has admitted to recording the conversation but denied any criminal wrongdoing.
Rahmani’s case follows a string of convictions against figures close to Bouteflika, who quit office in April last year amid mass demonstrations and pressure from the army, ending two decades in power.
The Hirak anti-government protest movement had called for far-reaching reforms to the ruling system in place since Algeria’s independence.
Many fear however that the ensuing trials against figures including Bouteflika’s once-powerful brother Said were part of a struggle between regime clans rather than a genuine reform effort.
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