Algeria: Trade union leader sentenced to six months’ imprisonment

10 January 2017
Sonelgaz building, Batna, Algeria
The President of National Autonomous Electricity and Gas Trade Union (SNATEG), Mellal Raouf, has been sentenced to 6 months in prison for denouncing a case of corruption at SONELGAZ – the national electricity and gas company in Algeria – involving the overbilling of more than 8 million users.

Mellal Raouf was reported by the management of SONELGAZ and prosecuted judicially for disclosing “confidential information”, after he denounced the overbilling, which was confirmed by the Commission for the Regulation of Electricity and Gas (CREG) - the official control and expertise body in the energy sector. However, the government, instead of prosecuting the perpetrators of the embezzlement and corruption, sentenced the President of SNATEG, in order to eradicate the autonomous trade unions within SONELGAZ.

In a letter sent to the government on 10 January, Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of PSI, expressed that: “transparency and the protection of the public good is a legitimate trade union activity. Criminal charges against trade union leaders and members who fight against corruption are a clear violation of fundamental trade union rights and in particular the right to freedom of association, which comprises the right to free speech. We therefore urge the Algerian government to drop all charges against Mellal Raouf for actions undertaken as part of his peaceful and legitimate trade union activities, and stop criminalisation of trade union leaders, activists and other dissenting voices in the country”.

You can support Mellal Raouf by signing the petition here.

Letter in Arabic - عربي

Web article in Arabic - عربي

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