EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 28/02/97
UA 51/97 "Disappearance" / Fear for safety 17 February 1997
ALGERIAAmine AMROUCHE, aged 22
Amnesty International has learned that Amine Amrouche "disappeared" from his
home in Baraki, on the outskirts of Algiers, on 30 January 1997.
Amine Amrouche walked out of his home at about 3pm and never returned. He
was seen in his neighbourhood by some friends at about 4pm. After that, he
went missing. There were no eye-witnesses to his "disappearance", but he is
believed to have been abducted. Several other youths are reported to have
"disappeared" in Baraki during the same week.
His family inquired with the local police, the gendarmerie, courts, hospitals
and the morgue but could not obtain any information. His grandmother went
to the gendarmerie to inquire about Amine Amrouche’s whereabouts, but she was
reportedly verbally abused and thrown out. She was only allowed to file a
complaint at the police station after several attempts.
Amine Amrouche was unemployed at the time he "disappeared", and was living
with his grandmother. He has never been arrested before. Amnesty
International is concerned for his safety.
In the past five years in Algeria, tens of thousands of people have been killed
by security forces and by armed opposition groups which define themselves as
“Islamic groups”; tens of thousands have been arrested and hundreds have
“disappeared” after arrest. At times members of the security forces carrying
out arrests do not wear uniforms or identify themselves as security forces,
and the relatives of those detained have no way of obtaining information on
their detained relatives until these are brought before the courts, often weeks
or even months after the arrest. In the cases where those arrested have
“disappeared”, most of them remain unaccounted for, but some have since been
found dead or are reported to have been killed in circumstances which have
not been clarified.
Individuals who were abducted by armed opposition groups such as the Groupe
islamique armé (Armed Islamic Group), GIA, have in most cases been found dead,
but some remain unaccounted for. These groups, at times, wear uniforms and
pose as security forces when carrying out these attacks.
Youths from poor districts of Algiers (such as Baraki) are particularly at
risk of being targeted by both security forces and armed opposition groups
as each side sees them as potential collaborators with the other.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in French, Arabic, English or your own language:
- expressing concern at the "disappearance" of Amine Amrouche and urging the
authorities to ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out to establish
- urging that, if in custody of the security forces, he be treated humanely
and granted access to his family and a lawyer of his choice.