Severe torture inflicted on Mr. Nouar Abdelmalek

12.02.2016 ( Last modified: 15.09.2016 )

Introduction

In July 2009, TRIAL filed an individual communication against Algeria before the United Nations Committee against Torture on behalf of Mr. Nouar Abdelmalek.

M. Nouar Abdelmalek joined the Algerian army in 1990. Within the context of the widespread violence causing havoc in Algeria during the nineties, he refused to obey orders to carry out assignments which ran counter to his conscience and was given disciplinary sanctions.

In April 2002,  Mr.  Abdelmalek was arrested at the border between Algeria and Tunisia, whilst attempting to flee his country, fearing for his life. He was held in secret, in Constantine, for 15 days under inhumane conditions and subjected to acts of severe torture by agents of the military police, the DRS  (Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité). He was forced to sign documents the terms of which he was unaware. As a result of the brutal treatment he was subjected to he had to be hospitalised for a month.

In 2005, Mr. Abdelmalek was again arrested. He was accused of plotting against a Minister of State, and most severely tortured for several days by State agents. Mr. Abdelmalek was even beaten within the actual premises of the Bir Mourad Raïs Tribunal, immediately prior to his appearance before a judge. The declarations extracted from him under these conditions were used in the proceedings against him. On being put in prison at El-Harrach on 12 October 2005, he was again subjected to cruel treatment in the prison’s infirmary and also, on 23 October 2005, in a secret detention centre. He was subsequently placed in solitary confinement for seven months.

The irreversible after-effects of the torture inflicted on Mr. Abdelmalek can still be seen.

Mr. Abdelmalek has consistently protested the torture to which he has been subjected, to each judicial authority he has appeared before, but to no avail. With his life being under threat, he was forced to flee his country and ask for asylum in a third party country, where he was granted refugee status.

He is now confronted with the legal impossibility to seek judicial remedy for the acts of torture he has been subjected to, due to the promulgation of Ordinance N° 6/01 establishing the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, which forbids taking out any legal proceedings against members of the Algerian Security Forces. 

Mr Abdelmalek is requesting that the Committee against Torture acknowledge that he has been a victim of torture within the terms of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and that Algeria has violated Articles 2 § 1, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 of the Convention, and subsidiarily Article16.

The author also requests the Committee to direct Algeria to open up a thorough investigation into the affair, to bring those responsible to justice, and to provide appropriate reparations.

The proceedings are currently underway before the Committee against Torture.

The decision

In May 2014, the Committee against Torture released its decision (in French) on the case of Nouar Abdelmalek.

According to the Committee, Algeria violated several articles of the Convention against Torture (art.1 2 § 1 read with article 1, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15).

The Committee also noted that the Algerian authorities failed to investigate the case, despite the different denunciations of the victim.

Furthermore, the Committee highlighted Algeria’s lack of collaboration, given that the State did not give any information on either the admissibility or the content of the complaint.

According to article 22 of the Convention against Torture, States parties have the obligation to inform the Committee of the case and the remedy, if any has been taken.

The Committee requests Algeria to launch an impartial investigation of the events in order to prosecute those responsible for the treatment inflicted to Nouar Abdelmalek

The State has now 90 days to inform the Committee of the measures taken, including reparations granted to the victim.