Human Rights Watch received information that, in December 2017 alone, there were at least eight new trials in Algeria involving at least 50 Ahmadi defendants. Since June 2016, 266 Ahmadis have faced charges, some of them in more than one trial. The president of the Ahmadyyia community in Algeria, Mohamed Fali, told Human Rights Watch that at least four new trials are scheduled for later in January 2018.
“Algerian authorities continue their unabated persecution of this minority, apparently for doing no more than exercising their freedom of religion,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
The Ahmadiyya, a community founded in India in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and identifying itself as Muslim, is estimated to have about 2,000 adherents in Algeria, according to the community.
Algerian officials have denigrated the Ahmadis on more than one occasion. In October 2016, Religious Affairs Minister Mohamed Aissa described the Ahmadi presence in Algeria as part of a “deliberate sectarian invasion” and declared that the government brought criminal charges against Ahmadis to “stop deviation from religious precepts.” In February 2017, he stated that Ahmadis are damaging the very basis of Islam.