Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

10 June 2007

Algeria: Persistent torture by the Military Security in secret locations

Algeria: Persistent torture by the Military Security in secret locations

"I was spat at by interrogating officers, insulted and kicked. They did this because I had denied information that they had presented to me." - Former detainee who was tortured by the DRS in 2005

Torture and other ill-treatment continue to be perpetrated with impunity in Algeria in cases of individuals who are thought to have information about terrorism.

The Department for Information and Security (DRS), widely known as Military Security, an intelligence agency within the military that specializes in counter-terrorism, operates with great secrecy.

The DRS systematically holds suspects in secret places of detention, and their families receive no information about their whereabouts, sometimes for months. While held by the DRS, detainees have no contact with the outside world and there are persistent reports of torture and other ill-treatment.
Statements established by the DRS are regularly used in court to obtain convictions for terrorism related offences, while allegations of torture or other ill-treatment in DRS custody are never investigated.

Methods of torture include beatings, electric shocks, the forced ingestion of dirty water, urine or chemicals, and the suspension of detainees from the ceiling. Most detainees do not have access to a lawyer when they are first brought before a judge.

No civilian institution exercises effective oversight over the practices of the DRS. Prosecutors do not enforce safeguards under Algerian law and are apparently not informed of arrests carried out by the DRS.

The DRS specializes in detaining and interrogating people who are believed to have information about terrorist activities, due to their alleged links either with armed groups in Algeria or with international terrorist networks abroad.

The Algerian authorities have been engaged in counter-terrorism measures for well over a decade, and have become a prime ally of the USA and other governments in the "war on terror". Today, the "war on terror" serves as a pretext in Algeria to continue abuses.

Foreign governments must do more to help end torture and ill-treatment in Algeria as security cooperation is being strengthened. Governments should not forcibly return anyone to Algeria who could be at risk of torture or ill-treatment, regardless of any “diplomatic assurances” from the Algerian authorities that returnees will not be tortured or ill-treated.

The Algerian government must end arrests and detentions by the DRS and ensure that all detainees have prompt access to lawyers. They should also repeal amnesty laws that grant impunity to members of the security forces and even criminalize criticism of state agents with years of imprisonment. All complaints against the security forces are now inadmissible, regardless of the crimes they may have committed.

Read More

Unrestrained powers: Torture by Algeria’s Military Security  (Report, 10 July 2006)

Algeria: Torture in the 'war on terror' - A memorandum to the Algerian President (Report, 18 April 2006)

Campaign to Counter Terror With Justice 

 

Country

Algeria 
Cuba 
USA 

Region

Americas 

Issue

Detention 
Disappearances And Abductions 
Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings 
Torture And Ill-treatment 

Campaigns

Security with Human Rights 

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