Prominent Algerian opposition leader Karim Tabbou placed under judicial supervision after brief arrest 

Tabbou, like most other leaders of Algeria’s pro-reform Hirak protests (2019-20), has been consistently harassed and persecuted by the state with arrests and jail terms

May 26, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Protests demanding the release of Karim Tabbou.

Karim Tabbou, a prominent member of the Hirak protests in Algeria, was arrested and kept in detention for 48 hours on Tuesday, May 24. On Thursday, he was released and placed under judicial supervision, media reports stated.  

According to a social media post by his brother Djaffar on Tuesday, Algerian police in plainclothes took Karim from his home without disclosing the charges against him. His whereabouts were unknown for 48 hours before he was released after a hearing in a court in Algiers. 

Tabbou is one of the prominent faces of the Hirak protests which started in February 2019, demanding systemic political reforms in the country. He has been arrested by the Algerian authorities on several occasions in the past as well.  

Tabbou leads a political party called the Democratic and Social Union (UDS), which has not been registered by the electoral authorities yet. 

He was arrested in September 2019 and convicted on charges of inciting violence and undermining national integrity in March 2020. He was sentenced to one year in prison, which was later reduced to six months. 

The Hirak protests started after then President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would seek a fifth presidential term. Since then, it has evolved as a pro-democracy movement demanding the removal of the existing political class and introduction of political reforms in the country. 

Following the strong popular reaction against his candidacy, Bouteflika did not contest the elections that year and Algeria got a new constitution in November 2020. However, the state continued trying to suppress the movement and its demands for deeper reforms by systematically persecuting Hirak leaders and supporters.  

Some of the leaders and journalists linked to the movement have been arrested and sentenced to long-term prison terms by the state. They have been charged with serious crimes such as threatening state security, among others.