Friday, October 18, 2013

Abdel Ghani Aloui, Harmless Blogger or Supporter of Terrorism?

Abdel Ghani Aloui, an Algerian blogger, was detained on September 15, 2013 on the charge of "glorification of terrorism" by the Algerian Police. Now when you look at what he actually did, the charges are so absurd you can hardly believe this story is true. Abdel Ghani Aloui took pictures of the Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and made caricatures of them and criticized him on Facebook. The poor attempt of hiding the fact that the police are violating Abdel Hani Aloui's right to free speech is being brushed over and calling this a "glorification of terrorism" is so heavy handed that it is disgusting. The evidence for this charge you might ask? When the police searched his home they found a scarf bearing the Islamic creed "La Ilaha illa Alah" (There is no god but God). Not only is this a laughable piece of evidence for proof of "glorification of terrorism", it is also incredibly offensive to claim that all practitioners of Islam condone, approve or commit terrorism.

Ever since the arrival of blogging and other forms of social media, the amount of these kinds of arrests regarding the criticism of countries and government has become more and more frequent. By making open communication easier and more accessible for people, it also makes it easier to allow them to air their grievances with their government to the world. However, this also makes it easier for government authorities to find and catch people who publicly disapprove of their government, and this incident is just one in a long string of reports of bloggers and Facebook users who have had their right to freedom of speech violated. In my opinion bloggers should be given the same kind of rights that are extended to journalists when they report on a topic.

The saddest fact about this entire affair? Algeria is attempting to get on the UN Human Rights Council, despite these trials that clearly violate the human rights of the Algerian people. One can only hope that with mounting public disapproval of Abdel Ghani Aloui's detainment, he will be released soon and the charges be dropped.

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