Algerian authorities free more than 60 ethnic Berber activists in special amnesty
Over sixty activists from Algeria's ethnic Berber minority were released from custody on Monday under a special amnesty by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bourteflika.
The president's office had earlier Monday announced the amnesty for protesters rounded up during disturbances in the Berber homeland in the northeastern Kabylie region over the past 18 months. Witnesses and the Algerian press agency APS said 31 detainees had been freed in the Kabylie capital Tizi Ouzou and four in nearby communities, while another thirty had been released at Bejaia, the region's largest city.
Scores of people were detained during riots throughout this north African country, the majority in Kabylie where there have been sporadic demonstrations since April 2001, when a youth died while in police custody. In announcing the amnesty, a presidential statement said Monday, "The head of state, acting within his constitutional prerogatives and with the aim of returning peace and calm to hearts and minds, has decided to grant amnesty to all those people sentenced for public order offences during demonstrations around the country." (Albawaba.com)
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