Abdelkader Mohamed

29.04.2016 ( Last modified: 27.07.2020 )
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Abdelkader Mohamed was born in 1961 in Algeria. After immigrating to France, he became a French citizen and lived near Nîmes until 1994, when his father asked him to return to Algeria to join a self-defence group (GLD) in the province of Relizane. In March 1998, after the arrest of 12 militia members including his father, Abdelkader Mohamed and his brother Hocine returned to France.

In the 1990s Algeria was in the throes of a violent civil war between the security services, the State-armed militia and the armed Islamic groups. From 1993, and especially after 1994, the Algerian authorities began arming citizens in provinces with a strong presence of armed Islamic groups, in order to put them to the fight against terrorism.

These militias were known as “Patriotes”, or “Self-Defence Groups”. In January 1997, these militia groups were publicly acknowledged by decree and officially titled “Self-Defence Groups” (Groupes de légitime défense in French, or GLD). Supervision of these groups was assigned to an operative sector for the fight against subversive elements. In January 1998, the Algerian Prime Minister informed Parliament of the existence of 5’000 such groups in the country.

According to the NGO Fédération internationale des droits de l’homme (FIDH), the GLD in Relizane, led by the Mohamed brothers, was responsible for more than 100 cases of extrajudicial executions and 208 cases of enforced disappearances  between 1994 and 1998 in the province of Relizane. Mass graves were discover in Relizane in 1998.

It is alleged that the militias, together with the military security service and the police, systematically tortured anyone they arrested in order to extort information about “terrorist groups”, before they were forcibly disappeared.

Abdelkader Mohamed as a member of a GLD was said to have been involved in the enforced disappearance and the extrajudicial execution of alleged terrorists.

legal procedure

After proceedings had been dropped in Algeria, the FIDH, together with the Ligue de défense des droits de l’homme (LDH), filed a criminal complaint before the Prosecutor with the District Court of Nîmes against Abdelkader Mohamed and his brother Hocine in October 2003. The complaint was based on the principle of universal jurisdiction for torture guaranteed under the French Criminal Code. 

On 11 December 2003, the Tribunal launched an investigation for crimes of torture.

On 29 March 2004, the brothers Mohamed were indicted and arrested for torture, barbaric acts, and crimes against humanity allegedly committed between 1994 and 1997.

Both brothers Mohamed were placed under court surveillance on 30 March 2004 and were not allowed to leave French territory without permission by the Court. They were required to report to the police every week.

The French Prosecutor had requested to the Algerian authorities the authorisation to come to Algeria in order to further investigate the alleged crimes. The request was however denied.

On 26 December 2014, the Investigative Judge within the Nimes Tribunal issued a final order to bring the two accused to trial before the Nîmes Criminal Court (Cour d’Assises de Nîmes). The two brothers Mohamed appealed this decision.

On 29 July 2015, the Chief Prosecutor called on the investigating chamber to order a complementary investigation into this case.

On 19 January 2016, the Investigation Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Nîmes repealed the final order to send the two accused to trial. The civil parties appealed this decision.

On 29 March 2017, the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) confirmed the dismissal. The case is now closed.


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