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Algerian rights activist given year in prison

December 3, 2013

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The lawyer for an Algerian rights activist who disrupted an annual festival has been accused of attacking the flag and public property, as well as inciting a riot.

Kamal Eddine Fekhar, of the Algerian League to Defend Human Rights, and 15 others disrupted the opening of the 46th annual carpet festival in the southern city of Ghardaia in March, describing it as a waste of public money when people lacked basic services.

Laywer Salah Debbouz says the court in the desert city 370 miles (600 kilometers) south of the coast on Tuesday sentenced Fekhar to a year in prison. He says the others received six months.

The arrest provoked demonstrations by young people in the town. Despite its oil wealth, Algeria suffers from high unemployment and aging infrastructure.