Annual Report: Algeria 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Algeria 2010

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The right to fair trial of individuals suspected of terrorism was not respected. Some faced proceedings in military courts. Some were denied access to legal counsel, particularly while held in pre-trial detention.The authorities failed to investigate allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees and the courts continued to accept "confessions" allegedly obtained under torture or other duress, without investigation, as a basis for convicting defendants.

  • Moussa Rahli was taken away by plain-clothed security officials from his home in Ouled Aïssa, Boumerdes province, on 17 March. He was detained incommunicado for about 50 days before his family learned that he was being detained at the military barracks in Blida. Although a civilian, he was expected to be tried before a military court on terrorism-related charges. His trial had not taken place by the end of 2009.
  • Mohamed Rahmouni, also a civilian, continued to be detained at Blida military barracks waiting trial before a military court on terrorism-related charges. Arrested in July 2007, he was held incommunicado for the first six months of his detention. The authorities did not permit him to have access to or be represented by the lawyer of his choice; he was assigned a lawyer, whom he did not accept, by the military court.

On 17 January, Bachir Ghalaab became the eighth Algerian national to be returned from the US prison at Guantánamo Bay. All eight were at liberty. Two awaited trial on charges of belonging to a terrorist group active abroad. Bachir Ghalaab and two others remained under judicial control for investigation. In November a court in Algiers cleared Feghoul Abdelli and Mohammed Abd Al Al Qadir of charges of belonging to a terrorist group abroad and document forgery. The eighth man was cleared of all charges without being referred for trial.

Freedom of expression

Journalists, human rights defenders and others were prosecuted on defamation and other criminal charges apparently because of their criticism of the authorities’ human rights record or of public officials and institutions.