International

Algeria: Absurd conviction of journalist Adlène Mellah must be overturned

posted on January 23, 2019 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Press Release Source: Amnesty International URL: [link] Date: January 22, 2019 Algeria’s Court of Appeal must end the ordeal of the journalist, Adlène Mellah, who was jailed simply for covering a peaceful public gathering last month, said Amnesty International today ahead of his appeal hearing on 23 January. Adlène Mellah, director of news websites Algerie direct and Dzair Press has been held in solitary confinement since he was jailed in El Harrach prison on 11 December 2018. "It is outrageous that a journalist has been imprisoned simply for carrying out his work and exercising his rights to freedom of expression. The authorities must overturn Adlène Mellah’s conviction and drop all the charges against him in this case immediately," said Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International. “Adlène Mellah’s case sends an alarming message about the state of media freedom in Algeria today. Journalists must be allowed to carry out their work free from harassment or intimidation, without fear of being arrested by the authorities.” Adlène was arrested while covering a protest of 200 people in Algiers on 9 December. The demonstration was held in solidarity with the imprisoned singer, Rada Hmimid, known by the stage name Reda City 16. On 25 December, the court of Bab El Oued sentenced Adlène to a year in jail and a 100,000 dinar (around US$843) fine on charges of "rebellion" and "non-armed gathering". A lawyer present at the trial told Amnesty International that the prosecution’s only evidence against Adlène was his presence at the protest. In a video of the protest, a police officer is seen telling Adlène to leave the protest. Shortly afterwards, he grabs Adlène by his arm, pushes him and says that public gatherings are illegal. Algerian authorities maintain a de facto ban on protests in Algiers under an unpublished decree from 2001. Adlène was arrested along with two protesters, Abdelaziz Laadjal and Abdelhafid Benekrouche, who were released later that day. Adlène has been detained since. In a court session on 18 December, the group of more than 20 lawyers who represent Adlène decided to withdraw and leave the courtroom as a sign of protest against what they said was the "deliberate intention" of the judge to hold an unfair trial. Prolonged solitary confinement amounting to torture

Since his arrest, Adlène has been detained in solitary confinement, according to two of his lawyers. He is currently held alone in his cell and even during his courtyard breaks, he is alone apart from prison staff. Lack of meaningful contact with other detainees for at least 22 hours a day for more than 15 days constitutes prolonged solitary confinement, which amounts to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, under the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules). To protest the verdict, Mellah began a hunger strike on 26 December, the day after he was convicted. According to his lawyer Zoubida Assoul, Adlène had lost at least 14 kilograms as of 15 January. Another lawyer who visited him on 20 January told Amnesty International that after a visit from his family, Adlène had agreed to take serums containing salt and glucoses as well as vitamins. One of his lawyers also told Amnesty International that Adlène was already very weak after reporting torture during his previous imprisonment. The Gendarmerie brigade of Bab Jdid in Algiers arrested him on 22 October 2018 on charges of "blackmail" and "harm to privacy". Adlène told Amnesty International that he was beaten and waterboarded by gendarmerie officers who also placed a cloth doused in bleach into his mouth three times. A Court provisionally released him on 22 November 2018 but the authorities failed to order an investigation into his torture claims. “The Algerian authorities must immediately quash the conviction against Adlène Mellah and free him and all other peaceful protesters, human rights activists and journalists prosecuted or detained simply for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Heba Morayef. Adlène’s arrest and conviction comes as part of a broader crackdown against freedom of expression in Algeria that intensified in October 2018, when at least seven journalists and six activists were arrested and detained in connection with their journalism under penal code provisions. © 2019 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL


Pro-Military Media Accuses US Ambassador of Wanting to ‘Turn Algeria into Syria’

posted on January 23, 2019 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Hassan Masiky Source: Morocco World News URL: [link] Date: January 16, 2019 Algeria’s intelligence agencies are unhappy with the activities of the US ambassador in Algiers, and they used a pro-military website to convey that displeasure.

Washington D.C. – In an article published on January 15, the Francophone website Algerie Patriotique accused American Ambassador to Algeria John Desrocher of “plotting” with opposition parties to destabilize the current regime and “turn Algeria into a new Syria.” The article went on to question the real motives behind the American diplomat’s extensive travels around the country and the purpose of his invitations for young Algerians to “undergo” American NGO training on democracy. The pro-establishment website indicated that the ambassador held secret meetings with opposition groups to encourage them “to carry out actions of subversion.” It suggests that Washington’s top diplomat’s actions and activities are suspect and amount to “political activism” against the Algerian state. Furthermore, Algerie Patriotique accused, in the same article, Ambassador William J. Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former US deputy secretary of state under President Obama, of conspiring with the Moroccan monarchy to subvert Algeria. However, the more troubling element in this hard-to-fact-check article is Algerie Patriotique’s comparison of Ambassador Desrocher to his predecessor, “the unmistakable Robert Ford who, in the 1990s, had turned his office of adviser to the US embassy in El-Biar into a headquarters for extremists of the FIS and the armed arm, the GIA,” according to the website. It is startling to see a pro-government media site accuse past and current American diplomats stationed in Algeria of associating with terrorist groups and plotting to change the government by force. Algerie Patriotique would never have published such an account without the direction and approval of top intelligence officers. In fact, Algeria’s notorious Military Intelligence manufactures these “type” of stories and feeds them to their social media mouthpieces. The hope is to cast doubt about the allegiance and patriotism of opposition groups fighting for democracy and human rights. In provoking Ambassador Desrocher, the Algerian government tries to portray the opposition as agents of the American government leading some activists to distance themselves from the work of Western NGOs. While Algeria is not innately anti-American, it is suspicious of the work of US pro-democracy organizations. The government fears that democracy-building activities are a threat to its rule. For some independent political observers, Ambassador Desrocher is collateral damage in the larger smear campaign directed by the military to de-legitimize members of a coalition of independent organizations fighting to stop a fifth term for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Nevertheless, accusations of “acts of subversion” against US diplomats are serious and a breach in protocol. Since Algerie Patriotique conveys the position of the powerful military establishment that controls the country, the Algerian government must give some clarifications regarding the publication of such false allegations.

Algerian Politician Warns of Unprecedented Crisis in Algeria

posted on January 23, 2019 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Tarek Bassa
Source: Morocco World News
URL: [link]
Date: January 13, 2019


Rabat – Abderrazak Makri, the leader of Algeria’s Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) political party, warned of an unprecedented crisis that Algeria may experience beginning in late 2019.

Starting from late 2019 until 2022, “we will experience unprecedented lean years. They will be difficult for Algeria and the ordinary citizen will feel the burden more than others,” Makri wrote on his Facebook page on January 11.

The politician, who is pleading for the postponement of the Algerian presidential election of April 2019, lamented that “the struggle for power and money dominates the political scene” in Algeria.

Few Algerians, according to Makri, “are worried about the economic and social risks that will make Algeria very vulnerable to regional and international threats in the short term.”

Makri warned at the end of his post, “I fear that when all Algerians recognize those who warn and advise from those who deceit and betray, it will be too late.”

A few days before Makri’s warning, a former Algerian prime minister, Ahmed Benbitour, said that Algeria is going through a deep political crisis due to the “autocratic and paternalistic” regime.

Benbitour, who is also an economist, stressed that there should be mobilization to make the current regime relinquish its hold on power and the country’s resources, to help save from political failure and economic crisis.

For Benbitour, Algeria’s “responsible elites” have to assess the situation, inform the population of the dire state of the country, and force a “peaceful” regime change.

“Our country is governed by an authoritarian, paternalistic, and patrimonialist regime that thrives on rent-seeking and economic predation,” Benbitour said Monday in Algiers at a conference on “the Mission of Elites in Saving the Country.”

“A regime change is the key to solving all of our other governance-linked issues,” he added.

Liberté, Egalité, Absurdity: French anti-terror laws are robbing people of their freedom

posted on December 06, 2018 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Eda Seyhan Source: Euronews URL: [link] Date: November 22, 2018 “We are only an hour from the sea, but I can’t take my children to the beach,” Kamel Daoudi tells me. It is the school holidays and Kamel’s wife and three young children have made the long journey across the country to visit him in an isolated town in western France, a town he cannot leave without facing arrest. A decade ago, Kamel – a 44-year-old man originally from Algeria - was subjected to an assigned residence order, which effectively put him under indefinite house arrest. Under the measure, he is confined to a town chosen for him by the government. After being moved six times, he is now in Saint-Jean-d'Angély, separated from his family by more than 400km. He lives in a non-descript highway motel approved by the local authority, and must report to the local police station three times a day. At night, he is not allowed to leave his motel due to a curfew. Kamel’s days are rigidly organised around his journeys to the police station and his curfew – he risks prison if he slips up. “I feel like the main character in the film Groundhog Day, reliving the same day over and over again,” he tells me. “Even prison is less severe than this.” And he should know. In 2005, Kamel was convicted for a terrorism offence and sentenced to imprisonment. During his prosecution, he was stripped of his French nationality. He spent six years in prison but, despite having served his sentence, he was not allowed to walk free upon release. Instead, the French authorities ordered him to leave the country. However, due to the fact that he would face torture and ill-treatment in Algeria, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that France could not send him there. French law allows the government to impose assigned residence orders on foreign nationals who, like Kamel, cannot return to their country of nationality. And so began an ordeal that has left him languishing in a legal limbo that has rendered a normal life impossible. Kamel is not alone in this injustice. While administrative control measures have long been used in cases of foreign nationals like Kamel, such measures have only recently become a key tool in France’s counter-terrorism arsenal. At first only available as an exceptional measure under the state of emergency, counter-terrorism control orders were brought into the ordinary legal system in October 2017. The Minister of Interior may impose such orders: “for the sole purpose of preventing the commission of terrorist acts.” Individuals are targeted on the basis of broad and vague criteria. The person subject to the order typically does not know the evidence against them unless they appeal the order. Even if they do appeal, they do not get access to the full case against them and face further obstacles to justice. The measures themselves confine a person to a specific town, require them to report daily to the police and, in some cases, prevent them from contacting certain individuals or visiting certain locations. Should they violate any of these conditions, they risk prison. These measures are inherently unjust. Pre-emptive justice – penalising someone for what they might do, and not what they have done – is not justice at all. If the authorities suspect someone of wrongdoing, they should investigate and, if there is enough evidence, prosecute them. By concentrating power in the hands of the government - completely outside of the normal criminal justice system - administrative control measures are open to abuse and discriminatory application, including toward Muslims. By bypassing the courts, administrative measures deny people the chance to prove their innocence and permit the government to penalise individuals without having to prove their guilt. The increased use of administrative measures in the counter-terrorism context goes beyond France and has seen an alarming increase in recent years. Last year, the Dutch parliament passed a law allowing the government to impose control orders for national security reasons on any person they claim “can be associated with terrorist activities” or the support thereof. A bill currently going through the Swiss parliament empowers police to impose restrictions, like bans on contact with certain individuals, on “potentially dangerous persons” without having to charge them with any crime. This law mirrors a similar expansion of powers of the German federal criminal police in May 2017. The vague nature of these preventative measures, which rely on presumptions of “dangerousness” and potential threats rather than hard evidence, coupled with persistent stereotyping of Muslims across Europe, opens the door to discrimination and abuse. Disturbingly, these administrative orders are just part of a wider raft of anti-terror laws introduced across Europe in recent years that have had a corrosive effect on the rule of law and have undermined freedoms that we have long taken for granted. Back in Saint-Jean-d'Angély, crammed into his motel room with his wife and children, I ask Kamel what he would do if the administrative order on him was lifted. “I’d live a normal life,” he tells me. “We made a promise with my wife that we’d go travelling, as a family. I’d arrange my days around the desires and education of my children. I’d try and make up for all the years that I’ve lost.” Eda Seyhan is a counter-terrorism campaigner in Europe for Amnesty International

Copyright © euronews 2018


High Court quashes refusal by Minister of Justice to revoke deportation of Algerian

posted on November 04, 2018 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Aodhan O'Faolain Source: The Irish Times URL: [link] Date: August 1, 2018 ‘To lose one application is a misfortune; to lose a second looks like carelessness’, judge remarks

A High Court judge has quashed a refusal by the Minister for Justice to revoke a deportation order against an Algerian who was said to have links to Islamic terrorism and feared torture if returned to his home country. Mr Justice Richard Humphreys found that the Minister’s decision not to revoke the deportation of the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was in breach of fair procedures. He said that the Minister’s decision was significantly flawed because of a failure to apply a specific legal test with regard to evidence on which the refusal was based. The judge adjourned the matter until September when he will hear submissions on whether or not the matter should again be remitted to the Minister in full or in part. The judgment was the third occasion where the courts have ruled in favour of the man in respect of challenges brought against the refusal to revoke the order. The Supreme Court in July 2017 quashed the Minister’s first refusal to revoke the deportation order issued in late 2016 and also remitted the man’s case to the Minister for further reconsideration. The Supreme Court’s ruling followed an appeal against an earlier High Court decision that the Minister’s belief was lawful on the basis there were no substantial grounds of a real risk of ill-treatment if the man was deported. Last December, Mr Justice Humphreys quashed the second refusal by the Minister to revoke the deportation order due to a failure to inform the man’s lawyers that certain information about Algeria was relied upon by the Minister when considering the application to revoke. Mr Justice Humphreys had sent the matter back for fresh consideration. Then in February, after the case has been reconsidered, the Minister again refused to revoke the deportation order. It led to new legal argument on a breach of fair procedures and that the Minister’s decision was irrational in having failed to apply the correct legal test. Lawyers for the State had submitted there had been significant improvements with regard to the protection of human rights in Algeria especially since 2016. In finding that there had been a breach of fair procedures, Mr Justice Humphreys said his reasons last December for quashing the Minister’s failure to revoke the order and sending it back, had either been “misunderstood” or “simply ignored.” “If I may be permitted to borrow from Oscar Wilde, to lose one application may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose a second on the same grounds looks like carelessness”, the judge said. It had been alleged the man, who has been in custody since 2016, was convicted of terrorism offences in Algeria and France and had previously used multiple identities. He had been jailed in Ireland for attempting to travel on a false passport. The Minister issued a deportation order against the man in 2016 after gardaí informed the Department of Justice they were seriously concerned about his activities and those of his associates which, gardaí believed, were “contrary to the State’s security”. Aged in his 50s, the man has lived in Ireland for several years and denies being involved in terrorism or in groups including al-Qaeda. He claims he is at risk of being tortured and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment due to his political views. He claimed that during the 1990s he was convicted of several offences in Algeria and received three life sentences and two death sentences. These offences had included forming an armed terrorist group intending to spread murder, sabotage, possession of prohibited war weapons assassination and theft intending to harm the security of his home country. He was jailed for eight years following his arrest in France in 2002 after he was found guilty of charges including membership of a criminal organisation preparing an act of terrorism. © 2018 THE IRISH TIMES


Judgment reserved in Algerian man's challenge against deportation order

posted on August 11, 2018 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Ann O'Loughlin Source: The Irish Examiner URL: [link] Date: July 24, 2018 Judgment has been reserved at the High Court in a challenge against another refusal by the Minister for Justice to revoke a deportation order made against an Algerian man with alleged links to Islamic terrorism. This is the third such challenge brought on behalf of the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons and who fears being tortured if returned to Algeria. The State has opposed the application and argues the Minister's decision to remove the man from the State should be upheld. The Supreme Court in July 2017 quashed the Minister's first refusal to revoke the deportation order issued in late 2016 and also remitted the man's case back to the Minister for further reconsideration. The Supreme Court's ruling came after the man appealed an earlier High Court order which found the Minister's decision that there were no substantial grounds to find he would be at real risk of ill-treatment if deported to his home country was lawful. Last December the High Court quashed the second refusal by the Minister to revoke the deportation order due to a failure to inform the man's lawyers that certain information about Algeria was relied upon by the Minister when considering the application to revoke. The High Court sent back the matter back for fresh consideration. Last February, after the case has been reconsidered, the Minister again refused to revoke the deportation order against the man. That decision was the subject of the challenge which Mr Justice Humphreys said should be quashed. Michael Lynn SC, with David Leonard Bl argued before Mr Justice Richard Humphrey's that the Minister's decision should be quashed. This it was argued was because there is a danger the man's rights under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits torture and being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, would be breached if he was returned to Algeria. Three reports on human rights and prison conditions in Algeria from internationally recognised experts in support of the man's claims were submitted to the court. Counsel said the man has been in custody in Ireland since 2016, Opposing the challenge Remy Farrell SC, with Sinead McGrath Bl for the Minister, said that there have been significant improvements in regards to the protection of human rights in Algeria especially since 2016. Counsel said that there had been changes to the Algerian constitution, the establishment of a human rights body by the Algerian authorities. In addition the Algerian government's intelligence agency, which had been accused of human rights abuses, the DRS had been disbanded. Following the conclusion of submissions Tuesday Mr Justice Humphreys reserved judgment on the issue. The man, who attended the court hearing was convicted of terrorism offences in Algeria and France, and had previously used multiple identities and had been jailed in Ireland for attempting to travel on a false passport, The Minister issued a deportation order against the man in 2016 after gardaí informed the Department of Justice the activities of the man and his associates were “of serious concern” and “contrary to the State’s security”. The man, aged in his 50s and has lived in Ireland for several years. He denies being involved in terrorism or being involved in groups including Al-Qaeda. He claims he is at risk of being tortured and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment due to his political views. During the 1990s he was convicted of several offences in Algeria and received three life sentences and two death sentences. Those offences include forming an armed terrorist group intending to spread murder, sabotage, possession of prohibited war weapons assassination, theft intending to harm the security of his home country. He was jailed for eight years following his arrest in France in 2002 after he was found guilty of charges including membership of a criminal organisation preparing an Act of Terrorism. © Irish Examiner Ltd, Linn Dubh, Assumption Road, Blackpool, Cork.


Deported by Algeria, migrants abandoned in the Sahara Desert

posted on July 04, 2018 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Victoria Gatenby Source: al Jazeera URL: [link] Date: June 25, 2018 UN migration agency accuses Algiers of neglecting over 13,000 migrants forced to walk long distances without food or water

WATCH VIDEO REPORT.

The United Nations migration agency says Algeria has neglected more than 13,000 migrants in the Sahara Desert in the past 14 months. The migrants, who include pregnant women and children, are left without food or water and forced to walk long distances. Algeria denies committing human rights abuses, calling the allegations a malicious campaign. Al Jazeera's Victoria Gatenby reports (see VIDEO LINK above).

© 2018 Al Jazeera Media Network


Migration policies can amount to ill-treatment and torture, UN rights expert warns

posted on March 05, 2018 | in Category International | PermaLink

by UN Human Rights Council Source: ReliefWeb URL: [link] Date: March 1, 2018 GENEVA (1 March 2018) – Increasingly obstructive laws, policies and practices have pushed migrants towards irregular pathways and methods marked by an escalating prevalence of torture and ill-treatment, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, has told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Mr. Melzer said some policies and practices used by States to deter, prevent or address the arrival of migrants could themselves amount to torture or ill-treatment. “States are increasingly depriving people of their liberty as a routine or even mandatory response to irregular migration,” the expert said. “However, the systematic and open-ended detention of people simply because they are migrants has nothing to do with legitimate border protection but amounts to arbitrary deprivation of liberty. “Such detention can even amount to torture, especially when it is intentionally used to deter, intimidate or punish migrants or their families, to extort money or sexual acts, or to coerce people into withdrawing asylum requests, accepting voluntary repatriation, giving information or providing fingerprints. “The longer a situation of arbitrary detention lasts, the more intense the mental and emotional suffering will become, and the higher the likelihood that the ban on torture or ill-treatment has been breached,” he added. The Special Rapporteur’s full report makes a number of recommendations for how States can address irregular migration while complying fully with their international human rights obligations. “States should enable migrants to claim international protection and to individually challenge any decision as to their detention, treatment or deportation before a competent judicial or administrative body,” he said. The expert also urged States to stop basing their migration policies on deterrence, criminalization and discrimination.. “The only way to end the horrendous suffering caused by migrant trafficking, abusive smuggling and arbitrary detention is to provide migrants with safe and regular migration pathways, and to ensure the effective protection of their human rights not only in theory, but also in practice,” Mr. Melzer stressed. “I hope my report will assist States in ending one of the greatest tragedies of our time: the widespread and systematic contempt for the human dignity and integrity of millions of people who have lost or given up everything in search of protection or a better life,” he told the Council. Mr. Melzer said some newly introduced practices suggested a deliberate erosion of the principle of non-refoulement, which protects anyone from being deported to countries where they risk to face torture or ill-treatment. "No migrant can lawfully be deported without an individualized risk assessment", he stressed, "including through international agreements, diplomatic assurances, border closures or so-called “pushback” or "pullback" operations, by which migrants are forcibly prevented from crossing international borders. The Special Rapporteur said that where no safe and regular pathways are available, migrants increasingly use smuggler networks, many of which allegedly operate in collusion with border officials. Migrants are also at great risk of falling victim to human trafficking during their journeys, he added. Whenever States failed to exercise due diligence to protect migrants, punish perpetrators or provide remedies, they risk to become complicit in torture or ill-treatment, he said. “Moreover, State officials or private citizens must be aware that their personal involvement in shaping, promoting and implementing policies and practices which expose migrants to torture or ill-treatment may amount to complicity or other participation in crimes against humanity or war crimes,” he added. Mr. Nils Melzer (Switzerland) was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in November 2016. Mr. Melzer has previously worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and is currently the Human Rights Chair of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow. The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. For inquiries and media requests, please contact: Ms. Alia El Khatib (+41 22 917 9209 / [email]), or write to [email] For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / [email])



Supreme Court of Ireland blocks State from deporting Algerian man linked to terrorism

posted on August 03, 2017 | in Category International | PermaLink

Source: The Journal URL: [link] Date: July 26, 2017 THE SUPREME COURT has ruled that the Minister for Justice must reconsider a decision to remove an Algerian man with alleged links to Islamic terrorism against his removal from the State. The State claimed the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is involved with Islamic terrorism and was convicted of terrorism offences in Algeria and France. The Minister issued a deportation order after gardaí informed the Department of Justice the activities of the man and his associates were “of serious concern” and “contrary to the State’s security”. The man, aged in his 50s and living in Ireland for several years, denies being involved in terrorism and claims that if deported to Algeria he is at risk of being tortured and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment due to his political views. The man, represented by Michael Lynn SC and David Leonard Bl, appealed a High Court order which found the Minister’s decision that there were no substantial grounds to find that the man would be at real risk of ill-treatment if deported to his home country was lawful. The State opposed the appeal. In its judgment today, five judges at the Supreme Court unanimously quashed the Minister for Justice’s refusal to revoke the deportation order issued in December last year. The court remitted the man’s case back to the Minister for further reconsideration. Giving the court’s decision, Justice Donal O Donnell said in this case there was “no reasonable basis” upon which any Minister could conclude there was no real risk of a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – that nobody should be treated to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. The judge said he found it difficult to understand precisely how the Minister arrived at the conclusions in respect of the man that he was not at risk of being treated contrary to Article 3. The judge said it was not sufficiently clear why the Minister came to the conclusion that the man could be deported to Algeria without a real risk of torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment and why the Minister considered such a decision ought not to be revoked. The judge said he had come to the conclusion he “could not have the level of assurance necessary that the decision sets out a clear reasoned path and one that was not flawed or incorrectly unjustifiable limitations or irrelevant legal considerations”. The Minister’s finding was in contrast to an earlier finding by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal that considered the man’s application for protection that he was at risk if deported to Algeria. To depart from such a finding required clear reasons, he said. The judge said the revocation application is to go back to the Minister and should be addressed by focused submissions, including up-to- date information concerning Algeria. There was no reason why the fresh consideration should not occur promptly, the judge said. Submissions, he said, should be focused on the issue whether there is a real risk on substantial grounds of the man being treated contrary to Article 3. If the man only submits a generalised complaint with no attempt to focus submissions on his personal situation and the up-to-date position in Algeria, then he will find it difficult to complain about a decision which treats the issue at the same level of generality, the judge added. Once the matter has been reconsidered by the Minister any outstanding issues in relation to the case should go back before the High Court, the judge added. The Chief Justice Susan Denham, Justice John MacMenamin, Justice Elizabeth Dunne and Justice Iseult O’Malley all concurred with the decision. Speaking after the judgment the man’s solicitor Gavin Booth of KRW Law welcomed the court’s decision. He said that “it was always our case that the Minister could not deport this man without breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights”. The man denies involvement in terrorism and rejects claims he is involved in groups such as Al-Qaeda. He has been in custody for some months and will remain in detention pending the outcome of the process. During the 1990s, he was convicted of several offences in Algeria and received three life sentences and two death sentences, which are no longer carried out. Those offences include forming an armed terrorist group intending to spread murder, sabotage, possession of prohibited war weapons assassination, theft intending to harm the security of his home country. He was also convicted and jailed for eight years following his arrested in France in 2002. A French court found him guilty of charges including membership of a criminal organisation preparing an Act of Terrorism. Content copyright © Journal Media Ltd. 2017


OSCE/ODIHR Director Link calls on participating States to strictly observe prohibition of torture or other ill-treatment of returned individuals

posted on June 29, 2017 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Press Release Source: Relief Web URL: [link] Date: June 26, 2017 WARSAW, 26 June 2017 – On the occasion of today’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), called on all OSCE participating States to ensure that no one is exposed to the risk of torture, including by ensuring that the states’ actions do not put people at risk of being tortured in other countries. “States are prohibited from exposing anyone to a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment in another country, without exception,” the ODIHR Director said. “The principle of non-refoulement requires states to ensure their actions do not lead to torture or other ill-treatment anywhere in the world – including as a result of turning away refugees, asylum-seekers, political dissidents, criminal suspects, or anyone else who could face the risk of such treatment.” Under international human rights treaties reaffirmed in OSCE commitments, countries are absolutely prohibited from returning individuals who risk being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment as a result of their expulsion, extradition or other forms of refoulement to another State. The principle is applicable in all circumstances, including armed conflicts, states of emergency and refugee contexts. “Before expelling or denying entry to anyone, OSCE participating States must determine whether the individual could face torture or other ill-treatment if returned to another state,” said Director Link. “They must take into account all relevant considerations, such as the existence in the states concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights, including of persecution based on prohibited grounds of discrimination.” Illustrating the genuine risks faced by individuals subject to expulsion by OSCE participating States, national and international courts have issued hundreds of binding stays on removal orders in OSCE participating States from 2014 to 2016, in order to prevent the expulsion of people to countries where they may face torture or other serious human rights violations. Such interim measures have been applied to prevent the return of asylum seekers and other individuals to situations of potential torture or other ill-treatment, including due to persecution on the basis of their religious beliefs, sexual orientations, political opinions and other prohibited grounds. Director Link also noted that, under the principle of non-refoulement, the procurement of so-called “diplomatic assurances” cannot be used by states to escape the prohibition on returning individuals to a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment. For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/odihr/325346


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