On 11 May, MEPs demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Ihsane El-Kadi, an Algerian newspaper publisher, and called on the Algerian authorities to guarantee media freedom. The arrest of El-Kadi, who heads one of Algeria's few independent press groups, including Radio M and the news website Maghreb Emergent, has led to a wave of support from colleagues and human rights activists in Algeria and Europe.
Ihsane El-Kadi was sentenced on 2 April to five years in prison, two of which were suspended, after being accused of foreign financing of his business. The Sidi M'Hamed court in Algiers also ordered the dissolution of his company, Interface Médias, and the seizure of all its assets.
In a resolution adopted on Thursday by a large majority of votes (536 in favour, 4 against and 18 abstentions), members of the European Parliament called on the Algerian authorities to re-authorise the media they have banned and to put an end to the arrests and detention of political activists, journalists, human rights defenders, and trade unionists.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcomed the adoption of the resolution by the European Parliament, which shows, according to the NGO, that it does not intend to remain silent in the face of the Algerian authorities' repression of the country's remaining independent media, even though Algeria is an important economic partner. With El-Kadi's appeal hearing imminent, RSF calls on the European Commission and EU member states to do everything possible to ensure that the journalist regains his freedom.