Algeria frees journalist month into one year jail term

Adlene Mellah was found guilty of unlawful assembly and sentenced to one year in jail on December 25.
Adlene Mellah was found guilty of unlawful assembly and sentenced to one year in jail on December 25.
Image: FILE

An Algerian court has released a journalist a month after he was sentenced to one year in jail for taking part in an unauthorised protest, his lawyer said.

Adlene Mellah, who heads the news websites Algerie Direct and Dzair Presse, was arrested on December 9 for attending a rally in support of an imprisoned singer.

He was found guilty of unlawful assembly and sentenced to one year in jail on December 25.

On Wednesday a court in Algiers gave him a suspended six-month sentence and released him on appeal, said the lawyer, Noureddine Benissad.

Mellah was first arrested on October 22 in a separate case of alleged blackmail, before being released a month later.

He still faces charges of blackmail, defamation and invasion of privacy in that case which is due go before a court on February 7.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranked Algeria 136th out of 180 countries on its press freedom index for 2018.

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