Algeria: suspended prison sentences on appeal for 27 Ahmadis

Article 144 bis of the Algerian Penal Code provides for a prison sentence of three to five years and a fine of $ 457 to $ 914 for “insulting the prophet” and “denigration of the dogma or precepts of Islam.” © Public Domain

An Algerian Court of Appeal has sentenced 27 worshipers of Ahmadism, the minority messianic stream of Islam, to three to six months suspended sentences, including for “insulting Islam,” as per their lawyers. These sentences confirm the essence of those pronounced at first instance, in June 2018.

The Bejaia Court of Appeal (260 km east of Algiers) on Wednesday (December 19th) condemned these 27 Ahmadis for insulting the precepts of Islam, managing an association without approval and collecting money without authorization.

The public prosecutor’s office, which had appealed the first-instance judgment, had once again demanded three years’ imprisonment in the Court of Appeal against all the defendants. At first instance, four women in the group had been released and one couple, tried in absentia, sentenced to prison terms.

Estimated at around 2,000 in Algeria, Ahmadis are, according to human rights defenders, in the crosshairs of authorities who have arrested and prosecuted nearly 300 of them since 2016.


Founded in the north of India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the late nineteenth century, Ahmadiyya (or Ahmadiyya), which proclaims itself tolerant and peaceful and claims more than 10 million followers around the world, took root in Algeria from 2007, when a television channel of the movement could be captured by satellite.

Islam is the state religion in Algeria, dominated by Sunni Malekite doctrine, but the Constitution guarantees freedom of worship, subject to the approval of the authorities for the place of worship and the preacher. 

Original French Article here:

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