Abou Djerra Soltani

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Abou Djerra Soltani was born in 1954 in Cheria, in Algeria. He has been the leader of the Algerian Islamist party “Movement for the Society of Peace” (MSP) and has held several ministerial positions in the Algerian government from 1998 to 2009, including that of Minister of State between 2005 and 2009.

In 1998, Anouar Malek, an officer at the Algerian Ministry of Defence, published a report expressly mentioning Soltani’s implication in the recruitment of a young Algerian Islamist sent to Afghanistan. He was immediately fired and in June 2005 he was arrested and reportedly subjected to torture for several days. On 1 July 2005, he was transferred to the Châteauneuf military security centre, where Soltani allegedly directed a torture session to induce Malek to sign fake declarations and blank documents. Soltani is said to have personally ordered, authorized and incited public officials to commit acts of torture, including waterboarding and electric shocks.

Legal Procedure

On 12 October 2009, knowing that Abou Djerra Soltani had been invited to Switzerland for a seminar, international NGOs filed a criminal complaint against him before the investigating judge of the Canton of Fribourg, followed the day after by the civil suit of the victim.

On 16 October 2009, the investigating judge in Fribourg, after acknowledging that the accused was not holding any official position in Algeria and did not benefit from immunity, issued a warrant of arrest to hear Soltani as soon as arrived in Fribourg. However, after receiving confidential notice of the warrant of arrest, Soltani quickly fled Switzerland.

No criminal prosecution has been opened in Algeria so far.