Anti-corruption journalist on trial

Algerian journalist and rights activist Hafnaoui Ghoul is due in court on Tuesday, accused of criminal defamation over an article that talked about corruption and maladministration in Djelfa province.

This is just one of 16 lawsuits against Ghoul – all of them brought by local officials and all "unmistakably politically motivated", according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Under Algeria's press law, he could be sentenced to between six months and five years in jail for each of the cases if convicted.

The CPJ says Ghoul has been the target of harassment by Algerian officials for years.

"In January, Ghoul survived a knife assault when he was attacked by unidentified assailants in front of his home ... In 2004, he spent close to six months in prison when he was convicted of defaming a local governor in an article he wrote in Arabic-language daily Djazair News and again in a subsequent interview with the French-language daily Le Soir D'Algerie."

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 9 October 2009.