Algeria: Singer imprisoned for song which mocks police

29-year-old Algerian raï singer Cheb Fayçal appeared in court before the Attorney General in Oran on 2 May 2013 where he was sentenced to six months in prison. He is prosecuted for having performed a song that poked fun at the police and mentions the name of its top official, Abdelghani Hamel.

Cheb Fayçal

Cheb Faiçal (real name: Faisal Bensalah), a well-known pop singer in western Algeria, was arrested on 21 April 2013 after a complaint filed by the General Directorate of National Security, Algeria’s internal security service, following his performance of a tongue-in-cheek song about the police and its top official, Abdelghani Hamel.

Cheb Fayçal appeared first time in court before the Attorney General in Oran on 25 April 2013 where the public prosecutor requested six months imprisonment.

Separate sources had been saying that Faiçal wrote the words to the incriminating song and performed it in night clubs in the city of Oran. The song itself has not been formally recorded, although versions of it have spread on the Internet and is being sung in stadiums by large crowds. At the court hearing, Cheb Faiçal denied the allegations, saying “These words are not mine”.

In 2005, another raï singer, Cheb Azzedine, was imprisoned one year in the city of Chlef after he had released a song which mocked the governor of the province and the public prosecutor.


Le Matin – 26 April 2013:
Six mois de prison requis contre cheb Fayçal

Morocco World News – 22 April 2013:
Algeria musician to be tried for song mocking police

Re-published by Maroc Press on 22 April 2013

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