Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > Algeria: The price of mocking “Sultan” Bouteflika

Algeria: The price of mocking “Sultan” Bouteflika

Friday 29 April 2016, by siawi3



Algerian activist fined over Facebook post

The picture above advertises a popular Turkish soap opera – Harim Soltan (the Sultan’s harem).

But there is also a satirical version (below) in which the Sultan’s face has been replaced with that of Algeria’s president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Besides “Sultan” Bouteflika himself, it shows a few members of the president’s “harem”, including his brother Said, prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Amar Saidani, secretary general of Algeria’s ruling party, the FLN ...

On October 4 last year, Algerian activist Zoulikha Belarbi posted the Photoshopped picture on Facebook with a comment saying:

“I don’t know when the Bouteflika soap opera will end and he will wake up from his false dream which has become a nightmare threatening the future of Algeria and her people.”

On October 20, police raided her family home in Tlemcen, arrested her and seized her computer, mobile phone and SIM card. She was held for 24 hours before being released under judicial supervision. “I was treated like a terrorist,” she said later.

Her case finally came to court last weekend, and she was fined 100,000 dinars ($905) for “undermining the president of the republic”.