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UA 410/92 - Algeria: fear of torture: Ahmed Bentchikou

, Index number: MDE 28/009/1992

Ahmed Bentchikou, a 21-year-old builder's merchant, was arrested on 29 November 1992 and has been held incommunicado since. The legal maximum period under anti-terrorist legislation for garde-a-vue detention is 12 days; Ahmed Bentchikou has now been held beyond this period. Ahmed Bentchikou's family has inquired since about his whereabouts but has not been told where he is being held or given any reason for his continued detention.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 28/09/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 410/92 Fear of Torture 22 December 1992
Amnesty International is concerned about the treatment of Ahmed Bentchikou,
a 21-year-old builder's merchant, who was arrested on 29 November 1992 and
has since been held incommunicado in garde à vue detention beyond the maximum
12-day-period allowed under recent Algerian anti-terrorist law. Amnesty
International fears he may be at risk of ill-treatment or torture in
incommunicado detention.
Ahmed Bentchikou and four elder brothers were summoned to the central police
station (Commissariat Central) in Algiers at 9am on 29 November 1992. During
the previous night police had searched the house, allegedly looking for a wanted
man, but found nothing. The four brothers were allowed to leave, but Ahmed
Bentchikou was detained and family members who have inquired since at the police
station have not been told where he is being held and were not given any reason
for his continued detention.
Since the state of emergency was declared in Algeria in February 1992, several
thousand suspected supporters of Islamic opposition groups have been detained
without charge or trial in internment camps and hundreds more have been arrested
in government sweeps against suspected members of armed groups who were said
to be responsible for the killing of nearly 200 members of the security forces
since February this year. On 1 October 1992 a new anti-terrorist law was
introduced, under which at least 1,200 people have been arrested to date.
This law increased the maximum period of garde à vue detention (when a defendant
is held incommunicado without access to his family or a lawyer) from 8 days
to 12 days. Amnesty International has received reports of ill-treatment and
torture of detainees and is concerned that incommunicado detention without
access to family, lawyers or independent doctors creates conditions in which
ill-treatment or torture arise.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters in French, English, or in your own language:
- seeking information on the whereabouts and legal status of Ahmed Bentchikou;
- urging the Algerian authorities to ensure that Ahmed Bentchikou is allowed
immediate access to his family and lawyer and to medical care if necessary;
- seeking assurances that he is not being ill-treated while he is being held
incommunicado in garde à vue detention;
- urging the Algerian authorities to ensure that all those recently arrested
are allowed prompt access to their families and lawyers and to medical care
if necessary, in compliance with both Algerian and international laws.
1) Minister of the Interior
Page 2 of UA 410/92
M. Mohammed HARDI
Ministre de l'Intérieur
Ministère de l'Intérieur et des collectivités locales
Telegrams: Ministre de l'Intérieur Hardi, Alger, Algérie
Telexes: 66341
Faxes: 213 2 618802 / 213 2 645793
Salutation: Excellence / Your Excellency
2) President of the High Council of State
Président du Haut Comité d'Etat
Palais du Gouvernement
Telegrams: M. Ali KAFI, Président du Haut Comité d'Etat, Alger, Algérie
Telexes: 66217 / 66221 / 66044 / 66088
Salutation: Excellence / Your Excellency
3) Minister of Justice
M. Mohamed TEGUIA
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
8 rue de Khartoum
El-Biar, Alger
Telegrams: Ministre de la Justice, TEGUIA, Alger, Algérie
Telexes: 61498
Faxes: 213 2 796557
Salutation: Excellence / Your Excellency
Observatoire national des droits de l'homme
Palais du Peuple
Avenue F. Roosevelt
Faxes: 213 2 60 10 42
Ligue algérienne des droits de l'homme
40-42 rue Larbi ben M'Hidi
Ligue algérienne pour la défense des droits de l'homme
19 rue Abane Ramdane
and to diplomatic representatives of ALGERIA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 2 February 1993.

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