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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
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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