Tunisia handed over political refugee Slimane Bouhafs to Algerian authorities because of his relations with the Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK), which Algeria has classified as a terrorist organization, media said yesterday.
Several media sources indicated that Bouhafs was arrested in Tunisia on August 25, that he had been a refugee in the country for years and that he arrived in Algiers late on August 27 or in the early hours of the next day.
Bouhafs is one of the main leaders of MAK and is the head of the Coordination of Christians of Saint-Augustin in Algeria.
The Algerian dissident is being prosecuted for joining a terrorist organization and leading missionary campaigns in the northern region of the city of Sétif, his hometown.
In July 2016, Algerian police arrested Bouhafs for insulting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and he was sentenced to five years in prison. A court subsequently reduced his sentence to three years.
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After one year and eight months in prison, Bouhafs was released by presidential pardon on the occasion of Algeria’s independence day.
Bouhafs then fled to Tunisia, where he contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to seek political asylum, but Tunisian authorities returned him to Algeria.