After almost a year in prison, Prominent Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni has been released following the pardon granted last week by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to activists of the Hirak movement, in a gesture of appeasement as the social cause which ousted Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power in 2019, regains momentum.
Dareni was arrested under charges of “inciting an unarmed gathering” and “endangering national unity” after covering the Hirak demonstrations.
The activist is in good spirits.
“We take this kind of verdict well and even better when we are eternal optimists. I am an eternal optimist and eternally positive, even when everything is bad, I always hold on to everything that is going well. It’s true, I didn’t expect these verdicts at all because I was always optimistic, but I felt bad mostly for my family and friends.”
The former television presenter and founder of the online news site the Casbah Tribune became a symbol for the freedom of the press in Algeria, a fight he vows to continue.
The controversial journalist is still standing strong in his convictions.
“I think that the fight for the freedom of the press is a daily fight and in all countries of the world, I have often thought of all the detainees and all the journalists who are imprisoned in African countries, from Asia and Latin America, it is not only in Algeria that we put journalists in prison, I stand in solidarity with them with their families, their relatives. The fight for the freedom of the press must be universal and I am ready to lead this fight as an Algerian journalist.”
Khaled Drareni’s release is only provisional, pending a supreme court appeal hearing Thursday.