Algeria frees blogger who called for vote boycott

ALGIERS- The Algerian judiciary on Friday released a blogger who had been detained earlier this week for posting videos calling for a boycott of the May 10 legislative polls, a rights group said.
Tarek Mameri, 23, was arrested on Wednesday by plainclothes policemen, the Network of Lawyers for the Defence of Human Rights said in a statement.

In addition to urging a boycott of next week's polls on the Internet, Mameri is accused of "destroying property, setting administrative documents on fire and inciting illegal gatherings."
"Yes, I destroyed electoral placards and burned my voter's card," Mameri told the state prosecutor who ordered his release pending trial on May 30.
"I opted to do that rather than immolate myself," lawyer Amine Sidhoum quoted his client as saying.
The rights group's statement denounced the arrest as "a serious attack on freedom of expression and opinion."
Turnout is seen as one of the key stakes in the upcoming polls and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika -- who bills the polls as a key step for Algerian democracy -- has emphasised it during the campaign.
Close to two thirds of the electorate abstained in the 2007 election.

Friday, May 4th 2012

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