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.