FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – Nineteen intellectuals and essayists, including Boualem Sansal, Chantal Delsol and Rémi Brague invite the Algerian Constitutional Court to censor the law that led to the conviction of the Islamologist for “blasphemy”.

In the coming weeks, the Algerian Constitutional Court will judge the case of the Islamologist Saïd Djabelkhir, sentenced on April 21, 2021 to a three-year prison term and a fine of 50,000 dinars for “offending Islam” and ” denigration of dogma” and “of the precepts of Islam” under article 144 bis of the Algerian Penal Code punishing blasphemy. In question: the affirmation, by this doctor of philosophy, that certain Muslim practices would be prior to Islam and of pagan origin, and that the content of the Koran and the hadiths would not have the value of an exact science.

Freedom of conscience was removed from the Algerian Constitution in 2020.

This case is important because for the first time the Algerian Court will rule on the conformity with the Constitution of the criminalization of blasphemy and, through it, on the religious limits placed on the freedoms of expression and scientific research in Algeria. It comes as freedom of conscience was removed from the Algerian Constitution in 2020.

It is therefore the hour of truth for the Algerian constitutional justice which begins its first controls of constitutionality of the laws a posteriori. The acquittal of Mr. Djabelkhir would mark a new era for justice. This judgment will be a reference in Algerian jurisprudence and will strongly determine the fate of public freedoms in the country.

The signatories of the forum call on the Algerian authorities to guarantee freedom of expression and academic research. And we wish to express to the Algerian people our wishes and our support so that they enjoy universally recognized rights and freedoms.

The signatories of this forum call on the Algerian authorities to guarantee the freedoms of expression and academic research, in accordance with international law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Algeria in 1989. How else can we take seriously the declarations of democratic goodwill and construction of the rule of law in Algeria?

We wish to express to the Algerian people our wishes and our support so that they enjoy universally recognized rights and freedoms. We invite him to reconcile his religious identity with the guarantee of fundamental rights.


List of signatories:

Boualem Sansal, Algerian writer; Rémi Brague, philosopher, member of the Institut de France; Chantal Delsol, philosopher, member of the Institut de France; Claude Habib, professor emeritus of universities; Annie Laurent, doctor in political science and essayist; Zineb El Rhazoui, journalist and human rights activist; Al-Husseini, Palestinian essayist; Djemila Benhabib, Canadian-Algerian journalist and essayist; Heiner Bielefeldt, philosopher, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief; Mohamed-Christophe Bilek, founder of Notre-Dame de Kabylie; Giovanni Bonello, former judge at the European Court of Human Rights; Javier Borrego Borrego, former judge at the European Court of Human Rights; Alfred de Zayas, historian, writer and former United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; Ján Figeľ, former European Union special envoy for the promotion of religious freedom; Claude Gilliot, French Islamologist; Yassine Mansour, PhD student; Hela Ouardi, university professor and Tunisian writer; Grégor Puppinck, director of the ECLJ (Catholic think-tank); Boštjan Zupančič, former judge at the European Court of Human Rights.

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