Algerian authorities have arrested the mother and sister of wanted activist Amira Bouraoui days after she left for France, a rights group and a radio reported on Sunday.
Bouraoui, a French-Algerian doctor by training, had been arrested in Tunisia last week and risked being deported to Algeria, but she was finally able to board a flight to France on Monday evening.
The 46-year-old was sentenced in Algeria in May 2021 to two years in jail for “offending Islam” and for insulting the president.
Her departure, following French intervention, created a diplomatic incident between Algiers and Paris, with Algeria recalling its ambassador from France for consultations.
On Saturday, officers in Algiers arrested her mother Khadidja Bouaroui, 71, and her sister Wafa and searched their home, the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD) and Radio M reported.
Early Sunday, Wafa was released but Bouraoui’s mother was kept in detention and transferred to Annaba near the border with Tunisia, the CNLD said.
A cousin who lives in Annaba was also arrested, the reports said.
Algeria, in an official statement released by the president’s office Wednesday, “firmly protested against the clandestine and illegal exfiltration” of Amira Bouraoui via Tunisia to France.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune also ordered ambassador Said Moussi to be recalled “with immediate effect”.
Ties between France and Algeria had been frosty since autumn 2021, but warmed when French President Emmanuel Macron visited Algiers last August.
© Agence France-Presse