Cartoonist arrested for satirizing Algerian politicians and military

 
 
Cartoonist arrested for satirizing Algerian politicians and military

“Until the end”. Politicians and military represented by Nime as “the band of the Titanic” that keeps on playing, oblivious to the repression in Algeria.

The painter, sculptor and cartoonist, Benabdelhamid Aminebetter known as “Nime”, was arrested on Tuesday 26 November by plainclothes Algerian police officers who entered the offices of his advertising agency “Creature” and seized his computers and other tools and work material.

The local NGO CNLD (Comité National pour la Libération des Détenus) announced the arrest of Benabdelhamid Amine “Nime” in a statement in which it states that “Nime” appeared on Thursday 28 November before the prosecutor of the Cite Djamel court in Oran to hear the charges against him, the text of the indictment is not yet known. The court’s decision will be known on 19 December.

Detienen a un dibujante por satirizar a políticos a militares argelinos
Abdelhamid Amine

He is charged on the basis of article 96 of the penal code which punishes up to three years imprisonment for anyone who “distributes (…) exposes to the public (…) for propaganda purposes, leaflets or newsletters or images of such a nature as to be prejudicial to national interests”

From CRNI, based on some comments from friends and followers on Facebook, it is claimed that he will be detained until at least 5 December.

According to CNLD, the first information on the causes of his arrest point to Nime’s latest works, published on his blog at the beginning of November.

With the state we have stumbled

One of the most iconic is the one entitled “The Chosen One”. It features the five presidential candidates and Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah. Al fonfo Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is drawn as something resembling a mummy. Benabdelmadjid Tebboune is depicted as the chosen successor to Abdelkader Bensalah.

Detienen a un dibujante por satirizar a políticos a militares argelinos

The military man tries on Tebboune’ s “presidential” shoe, a clear allusion to the Cinderella story. Published on 14 November.

Another illustration in the series, which looks like an oil painting, entitled “The King’s Costume” again shows the Chief of General Staff. This time with the interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, sewing a superhero cape for Tebboune.

Cartoonist arrested for satirizing Algerian politicians and military

The king’s costume, published on 4 November.

As usual, the first suspicions about the causes of an artist’s arrest usually focus on his latest works. In reality, it could be due to that image or any other, or all of them together.

It’s no joke with the military and the rulers in some countries. You can be thrown in jail on charges of treason or insulting the nation or any other subterfuge to justify repression and trample on freedom of expression at will.

Jailed for a cartoon of Bouteflika

The most recent case first conviction of a cartoonist for a cartoon was that of Tahar Djehiche, for posting this image on Facebook in February 2015.

Cartoonist arrested for satirizing Algerian politicians and military

For this very white cartoon, he was accused of insulting Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and of “inciting the mob”. He was tried and acquitted in May 2015, but in November 2015 he was convicted on appeal by a court in Lemghir and sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of 50,000 dinars.

Cartoonist denounced by the editor of his own media outlet

A particularly curious case from 2014. Djamel Ghanem, a cartoonist for the Algerian daily La Voix de l’Oranie, was reportedly denounced by the editor of his own newspaper before an examining magistrate in Oran.

According to his lawyer, he faced an 18-month prison sentence and a fine.
But the two sides gave different versions. The newspaper maintained that Djamel had committed “breach of trust” and “fraudulent access to the automated data system”. It was the prosecutor who, after learning of the case, accused Djamel Ghanem of “insulting the president” in a cartoon that was published on the Internet and then deleted.

The cartoonist’s defence argued that it was the newspaper’s management that had filed a complaint for “insulting the president” and that the cartoon was an unsigned version that had not been published, was found in Djamel Ghanem’s personal computer files and did not even draw or mention the president.

After several months of trial, he was found not guilty of offending the president. In March 2014, it was reported that Djamel Ghanem was planning to seek asylum in France to avoid persecution.

Sources: (1)(2)

Related, more than 130 cases worldwide:

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