Djibouti: Prisoners of conscience – unfair trial by security tribunal

Index Number: AFR 23/004/1992

This report describes the trial in July 1992 of Ali Aref Bourhan, a businessman and head of the pre-independence government arrested in January 1991 with over 130 members of the Afar ethnic group. He was sentenced to 10 years; 13 other defendants received sentences of 10 or 5 years. An AI representative observed the trial, which appears not to have been fair. The security tribunal conducting the trial was not independent as it contained a majority of government officials as judges; the rights of the defence were restricted; there were procedural irregularities; and the prosecution based its case on statements allegedly obtained by torture, which the defendants retracted. No investigation was made into the complaints of torture. Other AI concerns in Djibouti are noted.

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