Algeria - Hooded assailants launch knife attack against journalist

    MONTREAL, Jan. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders today urged
the Algerian authorities to ensure an effective investigation into a murder
attempt against Hafnaoui Ghoul, a journalist on the daily al-Wassat and a
human rights activist, at his home in Djelfa (250 kms south of Algiers)
overnight on 6-7 January.
    A group of hooded assailants armed with a knife were lying in wait for
him, gagged him and ripped his clothes. They fled without being identified.
    "The Algerian authorities have a duty to protect all their citizens
regardless of their activities and opinions. Hafnaoui Ghoul regularly exposed
embezzlement and scandals in the city of Djelfa. Unless there is a serious
investigation leading to the investigation and trial of those responsible, it
will send a very disturbing signal to investigative journalists", the
worldwide press freedom organisation said.
    Hafnaoui Ghoul made a formal complaint following the attack and asked the
prosecutor to provide him with protection. Reporters Without Borders regrets
that the police failed to act in response to threats the journalist said had
been made against him the week before the assault.
    Alongside his work as a journalist, Ghoul is also spokesman for the
Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) and is a member of the
National Union of Algerian Journalists. He was imprisoned for six months in
2004 during which he observed a two-week hunger strike to protest against
harassment from the judicial authorities.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)

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