09/04/2021 Algeria (International Christian Concern) – Algerian Christian convert Sulieman Bouhafs was arrested by secret police on August 25 in Tunisia and repatriated back to Algeria. Bouhafs, a refugee under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 2018, was repatriated to face trial in Algeria for his membership to the Movement for Self-Determination for the Kabylie (Le MAK). Le MAK is a political organization that advocates for Berber rights and was designated as a terrorist organization by Algeria in May 2021.
Bouhafs previously was arrested in Algeria in 2016 for his conversion to Christianity. He was accused of conversion, proselytizing, and defaming Islam. His sentence was reduced from five years to three years in prison but was later released in July 2020 after receiving a presidential pardon. After spending 20 months in prison, Bouhafs relocated to Tunisia and applied with the UNHCR.
The arrest and repatriation of Bouhafs appears to be linked to the arrest warrant of former Tunisian presidential candidate Nabil Karoui and his brother. Karoui’s arrest warrant in Tunisia was announced the day after Algeria detained him. The timing of the arrests of both parties links to Tunisia and Algeria’s agreements to exchange political prisoners.