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Cops Cuff Algerian Writer

FILE: Representative illustration of handcuffs and prison bars. Taken August 2, 2017

Algerian police arrested one of the country's most prominent writers, Lazhari Labter, in Algiers on Sunday, according to his son, who said the reasons behind the arrest were unclear.

"Two plainclothes officers showed up at Lazhari Labter's house at 6:30 pm with a summons, the contents of which I am unaware of," Amine Labter wrote on Facebook late Sunday.

He added that he did not know which of Algeria's security services was holding the 70-year-old, who played a role in the North African country's 2019 Hirak protests, which unseated longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The writer's son later said his father would be spending the night at a central police station in the capital.

Labter, a prolific journalist, editor and poet, is known for penning the so-called "18 commandments" of the 2019 protests, urging peaceful demonstrations against the authorities.

The author, who has worked for the International Federation of Journalists, is a former president of Algeria's editors' union and was a founding member of the national journalists' syndicate.

Reporters Without Borders ranks the North African country 134th out of 180 in its 2022 World Press Freedom Index.