Algeria: Imam acquitted of praising terrorism
An Algerian court acquitted on Thursday an imam and four other men of praising terrorism.Once the sentence was delivered, everyone at the court shouted: “Allah is the greatestâ€¦Allah is the greatest” and shed tears.
Attorney General had required 10 years prison for the imams and the four men who used to come from Boumerdes province (50 km east of Algiers ) to Al-Wafa Bi El-Ahd mosque in Algiers to listen to his sermons.
Eight lawyers were defending the five suspects and said there was no evidence to make them guilty.
More than 100 people including No 2 man in the banned-Islamic Salvation party, Ali Ben Haj as well as imams and preachers who used to listen to the imam Sheikh Amine Kerkouche during Friday’s prayer attended the trial.
Sheikh Amine Kerkouche, 37, who is married and has many children, works as an imam at Al-Wafa Bi El-Ahd in Algier. He has studied in college for 2 years and graduated from an institute to train imams in Tizi Ouzou province (100 km east of Algiers).
According to the minutes, the suspects were charged with praising terrorist acts as they used to frequent the mosque between 2004 and 2005 to listen to imam Kerkouche Amine who is known for his attitude that the government does not respect the Koran and the Prophet Mohamed’s Sunna (sayings and doings) .
In the court, policemen who listen to the imam’s sermons one a week said they did not notice any act or illusion against the State and society.
Sheikh Amine participated in a meeting recently organised by Algerian religious affairs ministry to condemn suicide attacks and violence acts which lead to bloodshed.
“Algeria is still ok as long as justice exists”
On Friday’s prayer, Sheikh Amine said Algeria is still ok as long as justice exists.
Dozens of prayers who came from different places in Algiers gathered at Al-Wafa Bi El-Ahd mosque’s entry to congratulate Sheikh Amine for being acquitted.
The imam expressed his gratitude for everyone who helped him and stood by his side.
“Algerian religious affairs ministry was honest and showed a sincere position toward my issue. He knows well that I was only doing my job and teaching people about their religious affairs,” he said.
Sheikh Amine told Echorouk he was praying God in prison for showing the truth.“My sermons were only about religious matters. I am surprised by reports in some newspapers which were inaccurate and made things worse.”