Human rights activist arrested by Algerian police

AP News
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Posted: Oct 03, 2012 9:05 AM

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — A member of a leading human rights organization has been beaten and arrested in a southern Algerian city.

The lawyer for Yacine Zaid said Tuesday that his client had been punched and beaten by police when they arrested him at a road block in Ouargla , 700 kilometers (435 miles) south of the capital. The lawyer, Sidhoum Mohamed Amine, said Zaid was arrested Monday on the ground that he had shown a lack of respect for police.

The daily El Watan reported that Zaid would go on trial Monday for "humiliating" and "striking a police officer." The paper quoted an eyewitness, Abdelmalek Aibek Eg Sahli, a representative of a hotel union, as saying that Zaid "wasn't aggressive and I don't see why he is accused of that."

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Amine said in an interview with The Associated Press that police often use "verbal aggression" to justify an arrest.

Zaid, a well-known blogger, is a member of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights. He was detained in Algiers on Sept. 25 after a support rally for another human rights militant on a hunger strike, but later released.