An Algerian appeals court has upheld a two-year prison sentence against London-based journalist Mohamed Tamalt for insulting President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on his Facebook page.

Lawyer Amine Sidhoum said Tuesday the court in the capital Algiers also confirmed the 200,000 dinar ($1,800) fine handed to his client last month. Tamalt has been on a hunger strike for 44 days.

Sidhoum said he would ask Bouteflika to grant a presidential pardon to Tamalt, a London-resident who was arrested on June 27 while visiting his family in Algeria.

Tamalt's sentence is the latest in a series of signs that officials are going after independent Algerian media for unnecessarily "darkening" the image of the North African country. Algeria is facing political uncertainty surrounding its ailing, 79-year-old president.