Algeria: Singer condemned for critical video shared on social media

21 August 2020
Singer Sihan Japonia
Image: Singer Sihan Japonia / Picture taken from the singer`s Instagram page


On the 16 July, “raï” (form of Algerian folk music) singer Siham Khedim (also known as Siham Japonia) was sentenced for 18 months of prison and penalised for a fine of 120 000 dinars (approx. 825 €) by the court of the city Djamel of Oran. She was imprisoned because of a video she made criticising the medical response to the Covid-19 pandemic, reported the Algerie 360°.

According to the Algerie 360°, the prosecution is for “insulting an official during the performance of his duties, insulting a constitutional body, defamation; and taking of images and their publication without authorization of the person concerned and attacking the symbols of the war of liberation national law, in accordance with article 151 of the Penal Code and articles of law 99/07 on the mujahideen (resistant) and the martyr ”.

The singer filmed the state of the emergency department of the University Hospital of Oran and shared the video on social media. She denounced the absence of the staff and the dilapidated state of the hospital. The singer is said to have used insults and outrageous words against the medical and administrative staff of the establishment.

The University Hospital of Oran specified in a press release that “this kind of behaviour harmed the psychological state of medical and paramedical staff in particular, because of the exhaustion of which they are victims following the overload of hospitals due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus”. 

The public prosecutor of the court of Oran, Hadj Kaddour Boucif, requested three years of prison against the singer, reported the Algerie 360°.

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