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Algeria

Algeria censors daily newspapers over Bouteflika 'coma' claim

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seen at the presidential palace in Algiers, in this file picture taken December 11, 2011.
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seen at the presidential palace in Algiers, in this file picture taken December 11, 2011. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Algeria censored reports by two daily newspapers that claimed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in a Parisian hospital since last month, would be flown home in a coma after his health deteriorated on Sunday.

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Hichem Aboud, managing editor for the opposition French-language 'Mon Journal' and the 'Arabic Djaridati', told AFP the reports cited French medical sources claiming that Bouteflika’s, condition had worsened.

Aboud said: “Both newspapers were seized on Saturday night at the presses. The ministry of communications has asked us to remove the two pages of the Sunday edition devoted to President Bouteflika's state of health.”

The former soldier said the dailies had “refused the self-censorship” since it was not viable to take out two of the publication’s 24 pages.

Aboud added that publishing an official statement concerning Bouteflika’s health, or broadcasting images of the ailing president would have avoided speculation on the issue.

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