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Prominent Algerian Activist Amira Bouraoui Sentenced to Year in Prison.

Prominent Algerian Activist Amira Bouraoui Sentenced to Year in Prison

Active in the Hirak protests which forced former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign, Amira Bouraoui has been sentenced to jail for 'insulting' current President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Prominent Algerian activist Amira Bouraoui has recently been sentenced to a year in prison by a court ruling, Aljazeera reports. Bouraoui was convicted on six different counts including "insulting President Abdelmadjid Tebboune", "insulting Islam" and "incitement to violate lockdown". Algeria, like several other African countries across the continent, has been on a national lockdown as part of continued efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.


READ: Stella Nyanzi Has Been Arrested for Protesting the 'Slow Distribution of Food' In Uganda

Bouraoui was on the frontlines of the recent Hirak protests which ultimately saw former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepping down. In March, the ongoing protests were temporarily suspended by protest leaders amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Commenting on her conviction, Bouraoui's lawyer Mustapha Bouchachi says, "These kind of lawsuits, which have been going on for months, won't calm the political situation." Bouchachi adds that, "It's not the best way to open up towards society, activists and this peaceful revolution."

Just last month, two other activists, Larbi Tahar and Boussif Mohamed Boudiaf, were handed 18-month prison sentences by a court following their posts on Facebook which were deemed "damaging to the national interest".

The political climate in Algeria continues to be repressive and antagonising of dissenting views despite the ousting of Bouteflika. The 2015 World Report on Algeria highlights the ongoing threats to freedom of assembly, association and speech in spite of the government's commitment to reform and improving human rights conditions.

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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