Algeria to release 2 protest leaders, says opposition politician

Two main figures of Algeria’s “Hirak” protest movement will soon be freed at the president’s initiative, the leader of an opposition party said Tuesday. (AFP)
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Updated 03 June 2020

Algeria to release 2 protest leaders, says opposition politician

  • The Algerian government — wielding carrots and sticks — continues to target opponents, journalists, independent media and internet users

ALGIERS: Two main figures of Algeria’s “Hirak” protest movement will soon be freed at the president’s initiative, the leader of an opposition party said Tuesday.

“President Abdel Madjid Tebboune assured me that he would use his constitutional prerogative to ensure that Karim Tabbou and Samir Benlarbi regain their freedom,” Sosiane Djilali told AFP.

“It’s solemn commitment on his part,” said the Jil Jadid party leader after a meeting with Tebboune that he had requested to discuss the two cases.

“Mr. Tebboune pointed out that he will not interfere directly in what concerns the judiciary,” Djilali said.

In the Algerian judicial system, the president has the right to pardon prisoners.

In principle, that right applies only to those whose convictions are final, such as Tabbou, a veteran opposition figure serving a one-year term for an “attack on the integrity of national territory.”

As for Benlarbi, he has been held in preventive detention since March 7.

“I think they have paid enough. It’s very good for them to regain their freedom and go back home,” Djilali said.

Weekly anti-government protests rocked Algeria for more than a year and only came to a halt in March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, with the authorities banning marches — although the opposition had already suspended its gatherings.

But the Algerian government — wielding carrots and sticks — continues to target opponents, journalists, independent media and internet users.

According to the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD), some 60 people are currently detained on charges linked to the protest movement.

After causing the downfall of former President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika after 20 years in power last April, the Hirak movement has continued demanding an overhaul of Algeria’s governance system, which has been in place since independence from France in 1962.


UAE warns of $13,600 fine for returnees who break quarantine rules

Updated 16 July 2020

UAE warns of $13,600 fine for returnees who break quarantine rules

  • Quarantine period vary from seven days to 14, depending on where the returnees are coming from

DUBAI: UAE residents who are returning from overseas must comply with quarantine rules or face a fine of $13,600, local daily Gulf News has reported.
The government earlier announced it would ease travel restrictions to a number of countries, with airlines set to resume operations by Aug. 1.
The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) said those who are returning to the UAE “should follow federal and local guidelines for COVID-19,” including quarantine and test procedures.
Returnees coming from low-risk countries are required to isolate for seven days, while those travelling from high-risk areas are subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
“All costs for quarantining and medical assistance, whether at home or in another designated facility will be at the cost of the individual primarily,” NCEMA said.
Meanwhile, individuals who wish to take a rapid coronavirus test to enter Abu Dhabi can only do so through a booking system.
The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee said prior appointment is necessary to undergo the screening due to high demand.
Booking can be done on a dedicated website.