Abdel Halim Khair, the lawyer for the girl, called Serene Zerfa, told AFP that the girl was scheduled to appear Wednesday, along with twenty other people, before the Annaba court in the east of the country on charges of “unarmed gathering.”
The Algerian judiciary is considering, for the first time, the trial of a 14-year-old girl, against the background of facts related to the protest movement, according to what her lawyer and a non-governmental organization said Thursday.
There are currently about 300 people behind bars in Algeria against the backdrop of the protest movement that has shaken the country intermittently since 2019. The charges against many of them are based on social media posts, according to the National Committee for the Release of Detainees.
Khair El-Din added that he expects the trial to be postponed, because the law provides for minors to be tried before juvenile justice. He plans to file a request to that effect at Wednesday’s session.
“It is a dangerous precedent, because we are prosecuting a 14-year-old girl on the basis of political facts,” he protested.
The girl’s father, Saleh Zerfa, has been in prison for eight months. According to Abdel Halim Khair El-Din, he is accused of belonging to the conservative Islamic organization “Rashad”, which Algeria classifies as a “terrorist” movement.
For his part, the vice-president of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights, Said Salihi, said, “This is a precedent. The authorities crossed a new threshold in escalating repression, even children were not delivered.”
“This is abuse of the entire family, the authority wants to discourage the Algerians and push them to give up their rights and struggle,” he added. Some activists demanded the release of the girl, Sirin, considering what happened a violation of human rights.
In another tweet, another blogger said that Cyrine will be tried on December 29, in the misdemeanour section of Annaba Court, saying: “The authorities did not respect childhood, so how will they respect human rights.”
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