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Human Rights Watchdog demands probe into death of Algerian ‘political prisoner’

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An Algerian Human Rights Watchdog, the League for the Defense of Human Rights, LADDH, has called on the country’s judicial authorities to investigate the death of a political prisoner, Hakim Debazi, who allegedly
died in prison at Kolea in the Wilaya region of Tipaza in the west of Algiers, following his arrest during a peaceful demonstration.

Describing Debazi as “one of the most active militants of the Hirak in Algeria,” the watchdog on Tuesday, called for the opening of an investigation into the “circumstances and causes of the tragic disappearance of this activist from the prison of Kolea.”

In a post on his Facebook account, LADDH vice president, Said Salhi, stressed that “the judicial authorities are required to inform public opinion on all details, circumstances and causes of this tragic disappearance”.

Salhi who disclosed that he had followed the case closely since Debazi’s arrest, urged “the judicial authorities to open an immediate judicial inquiry to determine responsibilities, reveal the truth and do justice”.

Salhi noted that Debazi, 55, was arrested on February 22, 2022, and remanded in custody in the prison of Kolea, and that a request for his release on bail because of his worrying health condition, was rejected by the authorities.

“Hakim Debazi is one of those activists who have been sentenced by the Algerian justice to prison for posts on social networks.

“Most are prosecuted for simply expressing an opinion, particularly through publications on social networks,” the League said in a statement, adding that hundreds of Algerian activists accused of undermining state security and the integrity of the territory as well as subversive acts, are currently languishing in Algerian prisons in deplorable conditions.

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Burkina Faso’s junta leader, Ibrahim Traore, assures France of relations amidst recent tension

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Amidst recent diplomatic tension between Burkina Faso and France, the military leader of the West African country, Ibrahim Traoré has claimed that recent incidences do not suggest the end of relations with France.

Burkina Faso had expelled French ambassadors and expelled French troops earlier in the year. French President, Emmanuel Macron had sought clarifications from military President Ibrahim Traore about reported demands for the departure of French troops from the country.

He said: “We’ve heard everywhere in the press that Wagner is in Ouagadougou. That’s also how we heard about it. I’ve asked some people who say, ‘Oh really? Where are they?’

“We’ve since heard that they’re even in a hotel somewhere, we’re surprised to hear about that.”

“There’s a general state of mind whereby if you deal with Wagner, everyone runs away from you, so it’s something which has been created in order that everyone shuns us – well congratulations, good job.”

The wave of anti-French agitations in the West African sub-region has continued in recent times. Notably French relations with Burkina Faso’s neighbour, Mali who is also caught up in a serious security crisis.

“The French embassy is here,” He said. “French nationals are here, just as ours is there, so diplomatically nothing has changed.

“This is about an agreement over military presence, and as they have said, our sovereignty is up to us, so that’s what we are expressing through our denunciation of this agreement. So there is no breaking off of diplomatic relations, or hatred of any particular country.”

France’s position in Africa has been a subject of discussion lately amidst recent anti-French agitations across the continent.

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Tunisian union, UGTT chief, Noureddine Taboubi accuses President Saied of intimidation

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As part of the fallouts of the recently conducted parliamentary elections in Tunisia, its trade union, UGTT accused President Kais Saied of targeting it as a distraction from record-low election turnout.

The powerful union also accused president Saied of overseeing a “total failure” of economic policies.

The UGTT chief, Noureddine Taboubi at a meeting held at Gammarth to discuss the arrest of the union’s senior official Anis Kaabi earlier in the week said “the president is trying to divert attention from the record low election turnout in the first and second round of legislative elections and the utter failure of his economic and social decisions.”

Mr. Taboubi added: “Why is the UGTT a target?  Because [the authorities] want to pass the painful reforms they are always discussing.

“In order to pass these painful reforms, they need to distract the public with trivia by saying that the reason for this situation is the UGTT.”

The election, which was a second round of the Tunisian parliamentary polls held last Sunday with reports that nearly 90% of the electorate did not vote, making it the highest level of abstention since the 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Ben Ali and marked the advent of democracy in the country.

Voter turnout for the first round of the parliamentary elections in December was only 11%, prompting widespread ridicule among Saied’s opponents and new demands by the powerful labour union that he changes tack.

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