Algerian student: 'University censored my political thesis'

Leila Sidhoum Image copyright Leila Sidhoum
Image caption Leila Sidhoum said she was told to remove references to the president and the army

A PhD student in Algeria says her university is withholding her degree because of objections to the political content of her thesis.

An official at the faculty said there were concerns over the way she presented the military.

Leila Sidhoum has accused the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Algiers 3 of censorship and intimidation.

She said she had already successfully defended her work before a board.

Ms Sidhoum, who is also an assistant professor at the university, themed her work on the role of governing elites in the democratic transition in Algeria, from 1989 to 2016.

She said, after complying with earlier amendments requested by the board, her work was validated and she was awarded a distinction.

However, her degree was later blocked by the acting dean and her work was pulled from the university library, she said.

Image copyright University of Algiers 3
Image caption Staff from the University of Algiers (pictured) originally passed the student's work

A university official, who preferred not to be named, told the BBC that the thesis included allegations and ideological, unscientific statements about the military.

The official also said the board of examiners had failed to properly check the work's content and review its standards.

Ms Sidhoum said she has been told to remove parts of the thesis referring to the army, the president and the banned Islamic Salvation Front party (FIS).

The FIS won the first round the country's first multi-party elections in 1991, but an armed conflict erupted after the military cancelled the second round.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 people were killed in the ensuing conflict and thousands remain missing.

The government of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has ruled since 1999, offered a peace deal to moderate Islamic groups, which was adopted after a referendum.

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