Algerian court orders detention of journalist

Said Boudour, who along with whistleblower Noureddine Tounsi were behind revelation and media coverage of seizure of 701 kilogrammes of cocaine at Oran port, is detained on charges "blackmail" and "undermining the morale of the army".

ALGIERS - A court in Algeria on Tuesday ordered the detention of a journalist and activist on charges of "blackmail" and "undermining the morale of the army", according to a committee that defends detainees.

A judge at the court in the western city of Oran placed Said Boudour in custody days after his arrest, the National Committee for the Release of Detainees said in a statement, without giving further details of what he was accused of.

Boudour works for online news sites and is a member of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH), an independent organisation.

He was arrested and placed in custody on October 6 and presented the next day before the prosecutor who released him on bail.

LADDH denounced in a statement released Monday "the judicial harassment" of Boudour.

Boudour and whistleblower Noureddine Tounsi were behind the revelation and media coverage of the seizure of 701 kilogrammes of cocaine at the port of Oran, which led to the imprisonment of several officials, including senior security officials, according to LADDH.

Tounsi was also put under judicial control with the withdrawal of his passport.

The human rights organisation slammed the harassment campaign of journalists which "is not about to stop during this very sensitive period" in Algeria following the political crisis.

Algeria has seen weekly mass protests by those opposed to a presidential election planned for December 12. Protesters reject the vote as long as some of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika's allies are still in power, saying it could not be free or fair.

Authorities see the election as the only way to end a political crisis caused by Bouteflika's resignation in April under pressure from demonstrators.