Algeria jails artist ahead of Dec. 12 elections – Middle East

Ahead of the country’s controversial elections slated for December 12, Algerian authorities arrested artist Abdelhamid Amine and ordered him to be held in pre-trial detention, as reported by Al Jazeera.The move has been heavily criticized by activists, who consider it part of the overall crackdown on free expression and political dissent in the country.Amine has gained a degree of notoriety due to his artwork, which is heavily critical of the Algerian military and ruling elite.

For example, one of his works depicts the army chief, Lt.-Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, as he kneels at the feet of current Algerian presidential candidate and former prime minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and attempts to fit a shoe onto his foot in the manner of Disney’s Cinderella.Tebboune, a staunch loyalist of the country’s former strongman Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is seen by many as the candidate with the most political support by the military and ruling elite.Amine was arrested on Tuesday, after plain-clothed authorities raided his office in the city of Oran and confiscated his work. He is expected to stand trial on December 5.Widespread protests erupted in February 2019 in Algeria following the announcement that despite his worsening health, the 82-year-old Bouteflika had planned to stay in power after 20 years of unchallenged rule. Bouteflika resigned in April, but the elections remain highly controversial, as most of the other officials in power from Bouteflika’s regime haven’t followed suit.

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Author: The Jerusalem Post