Algerian imam gets jail for death threats

Oran - A radical Muslim preacher in Algeria was given a six-month jail term on Tuesday for demanding the death of journalist and author Kamel Daoud whom he accused of "apostasy".

The court in Oran also fined Abdelfatah Hamadache Ziraoui €450 after he was prosecuted for making death threats.

In December 2014, Ziraoui urged the North African country's authorities to put Daoud to death, in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

Ziraoui accused Daoud of "apostasy" after the writer, during an appearance on a French television show, criticised the relationship Muslims have with Islam.

The radical Sunni Salafist preacher, who campaigns against alcohol and swimwear, charged that Daoud's remarks were tantamount to "a war against Allah, his prophet, the Qur'an and the sacred values of Islam".

He called for him to be put to death under Islamic law.

Daoud, a columnist with the Quotidien d'Oran newspaper based in the western Algerian city where he lives, was once attracted by Islamist ideology but later turned his back on it.

In 2015, he won the prestigious French Prix Goncourt for a debut novel - "The Meursault Investigation", a retelling of Albert Camus's classic "The Stranger".

In court on Tuesday, where he appeared unrepresented, Ziraoui stood by his comments.

Daoud's defence team had demanded a conviction but a symbolic sentence of a fine of one dinar.

Last month, Daoud said in a letter published by the French newspaper Le Monde that he was giving up public debate and journalism, after a group of university professors accused him of "fanning the fantasies of Islamophobes".


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