Exiled leader Madani buried in Algiers

In this file photo taken on September 14, 2004 Exiled Algerian Islamist leader Abassi Madani talks to journalists in the Qatari capital Doha. (AFP)
Updated 28 April 2019
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Exiled leader Madani buried in Algiers

  • For Algerians, Madani remained most associated with the bloodletting during the civil war that pitted the security forces against sometimes feuding armed groups

ALGIERS: Abassi Madani, founder of Algeria’s banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), was buried in the capital Algiers on Saturday days after his death in Qatar where he lived in exile, a security source said.
Madani had called for armed struggle in 1992 after Algeria’s military scrapped the country’s first multi-party parliamentary election which the FIS had won, and pushed for the creation of an Islamic state in the North African nation.
“Abassi Madani will be buried today on Saturday in the El-Alia cemetery,” in an eastern suburb of the capital near the airport, a security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Earlier, A source close to the family said Madani’s body would arrive from Doha at around 11:25 GMT and would be taken to his home in the central Belcourt neighborhood of Algiers before the burial.
Senior FIS figure El-Hachemi Sahnouni said Madani could be buried either at the El-Alia cemetery or the Sidi Mohamed cemetery close to his home.
He died in a Doha hospital on Wednesday from a “long illness” at the age of 88, FIS co-founder Ali Belhadj said.
The FIS had been on track to win an absolute majority in the 1991-92 parliamentary election when the army canceled the second round, triggering a decade of civil war that left 200,000 dead, according to official figures.
Madani had been living in Qatar since 2003. He had fled into exile after serving a 12-year prison sentence in Algeria on charges predating the election.
For Algerians, Madani remained most associated with the bloodletting during the civil war that pitted the security forces against sometimes feuding armed groups.
He was imprisoned in 1991 and only called for an end to the violence in 1999, when his group said it was laying down its arms.


Warning to Turkish artists as singer is jailed for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

Updated 21 July 2019
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Warning to Turkish artists as singer is jailed for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

  • Actress and singer Zuhal Olcay was charged with insulting Erdogan using hand gestures at a concert in Istanbul in 2016
  • Turkey’s appeals court has upheld an 11-month sentence, originally imposed last year but suspended

ANKARA: Accusations of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may lead to a jail sentence — even if the “insult” is in private, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Turkey’s appeals court has upheld an 11-month sentence on actress and singer Zuhal Olcay, 61, after a complaint that she had changed lyrics of songs and used hand gestures to insult the president at a concert in Istanbul in 2016.

The revised lyrics said: “Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie. Life will end one day and you’ll say ‘I had a dream’.” Olcay said she had changed the lyrics only because the president’s name fitted the rhyme.

The court confirmed a sentence originally imposed last year, which had been suspended. The singer is expected to spend up to three days in prison, before being released on probation.

“This case highlights the blurring of the public and private spheres.”

Louis Fishman Academic

“Zuhal Olcay is an artist with great stature, and this case shows that no one is out of reach of a judiciary that increasingly has little independence from the government,” Louis Fishman, an assistant professor at City University of New York, told Arab News.

“The message is clear; artists in Turkey should be silent or face legal consequences that can be drawn out for years and eventually lead to prison,” said Fishman, an expert on Turkey.

He said it was significant that the hand gesture at the center of the case had happened at a private concert, and the prosecution began only after it was reported to police by someone in the audience.

“Therefore, this case also highlights the blurring of the public and private spheres,” he said. 

“In other words, there is a growing fear in Turkey of criticizing, or ‘defaming’ Erdogan, not only in public, but also in private. In both cases, vigilant citizens can report such alleged cases to the police.”