Algerian Journalist Jailed for Facebook Poem and Posts Reportedly in a Coma

Journalist Mohamed Tamalt, who has been in prison in Algeria since June 27, serving a two-year sentence for Facebook posts and a poem that insulted the country’s president, is reportedly in a coma:

tamaltAccording to Watan.Com, Tamalt was taken to intensive care following a hunger strike that lasted more than sixty days.

It was August 9 that an Algiers appeals court upheld Tamalt’s two-year sentence, for Facebook posts, including a poem, deemed offensive to Algeria’s president. Human Rights Watch is among the organizations calling for Tamalt’s release. In a statement, HRW wrote:

Police arrested Tamalt, a freelance journalist with dual Algerian and British nationality, near his parents’ house in Algiers. On June 28, they brought him before the First Instance Court of Sidi Mhamed in Algiers, where an investigative judge ordered his detention for “offending the president” and “defaming a public authority” under articles 144bis and 146 of the penal code.

The charges against Tamalt were for posts on his Facebook page that included a video he shared on April 2, showing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika greeting former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a poem containing insulting verses about Bouteflika. The video was also uploaded to his online journal.

Tamalt, who lives in Britain and has British citizenship, was arrested near his parents’ home.