Algiers – Algerian prosecutors are putting a 14-year-old girl on trial in connection with the country’s Hirak protest movement, her lawyer and a human rights group said.
The girl has been ordered to appear in court in the eastern city of Annaba on Wednesday, alongside 20 other suspects, charged with attending an “unarmed gathering”, her lawyer Abdelhalim Khereddine told AFP.
“It’s a first,” said Said Salhi, vice-president of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH).
“The authorities have crossed a new line in their escalation of repression, and even children aren’t spared.”
Lawyer Khereddine said he would ask for the trial to be postponed as, according to Algerian law, the age of criminal responsibility is 18 and the girl should be tried in a juvenile court.
Still, “it is a dangerous precedent to place a 14-year-old on trial over political events”, he said.
Salhi accused the authorities of “harassing an entire family… to push Algerians to give up their rights and their struggle”.
Khereddine told AFP that the girl’s father has been in prison for eight months for allegedly belonging to the outlawed Islamist movement Rachad.
The National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD) says nearly 300 people are currently in jail on charges linked to the Hirak movement, which forced veteran strongman Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office in 2019.
Many of the detainees are being held over publications on social media, it says.
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