By Iqbal Tamimi
The National Union of Algerian journalists announced Tuesday, 26 June 2012, that the court of Annaba (600 km east of Algiers) sentenced a female journalist working at the regional newspaper (Akher Saa) "The last hour," to two months imprisonment .
The union said in its statement: “journalist Fatima Zahra Amarah, working at the regional newspaper Akher Saa, has been convicted on Monday, June 25th of two months in prison and a fine of 20,000 dinars (200 euros) and compensation charges of 100 thousand dinars (one thousand euros) after a trial in the case of libel filed against her by the former director of Annaba hospital. "
"Akher Saa" newspaper said that the mentioned above journalist has reported on the course of the trial brought by a female employee accusing the former director of Annaba hospital of sexual harassment, but the journalist failed to report the course of the trial accurately.
Amara, told AFP: "I am shocked. The sentence is too harsh, especially as the government of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has committed itself to ensuring freedom of the press and the parliament has approved a law that eliminates jail terms on cases against the press".
“I will appeal against the verdict on Thursday. “She added
The Algerian Press Syndicate expressed its shock of the court’s decision, on the grounds that the Algerian media law does not include imprisonment in press offense since its amendment in October 2011."
According to the journalists' union "the danger" comes from the fact that it is not an "isolated incident that can be classified as a judicial error" since it comes after ten days from similar Libel provision against the La Nouvelle Republique reporter in a case filed against him by the director of taxation in the region. ".
The union called for an "immediate halt of such jurisdictions against journalists since they are not based on any legal articles"