EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 21/02/91
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UA 216/91 Summary expulsion of refugee 25 June 1991
FRANCE/GABON: Abdelmoumen Diouri, refugee from Morocco
Amnesty International is concerned at the summary expulsion from France to Gabon on 20
June 1991 of Abdelmoumen Diouri, a Moroccan who has been living in France as a recognized
refugee since the early 1970's. Amnesty International believes that, if he were returned
to Morocco, he would be at risk of imprisonment as a prisoner of conscience and torture.
Furthermore, in view of the close links between the governments of Morocco and Gabon, Amnesty
International is concerned for his personal safety in Gabon.
Abdelmoumen Diouri is the author of two books accusing the Moroccan Government of
human rights violations. He has alleged that he was harassed by French security service
officials after the announcement of the forthcoming publication of a third book "A qui
appartient le Maroc?" ("Who Owns Morocco?"). On the morning of 20 June 1991, he was arrested
at his home in Paris by French plain-clothes police officers and taken into custody. He
was held throughout the day without being allowed to see his lawyer. That evening, he was
put on a flight to Gabon.
On arrival in Gabon he was reportedly taken into custody by the Gabonese security
services. Although he appeared on television in Gabon and stated that he had been well-treated
and was not detained, it is reported that he is guarded by members of the Gabon security
police and is under house arrest.
Abdelmoumen Diouri was expelled from France under the urgence absolue (extremely
urgent) procedure, according to which the French authorities can expel a person for
"compelling reasons of public or state security" ("nécessité impérieuse pour la sécurité
publique ou la sûreté de l'Etat") with no possibility for the person concerned to appeal
against the decision before expulsion.
However, as a recognized refugee in France, Abdelmoumen Diouri is entitled to the
protection of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which France and
Gabon are party. The French authorities have stated that they have obtained guarantees
from the Gabonese authorities that Abdelmoumen Diouri will not be returned to Morocco.
However, Amnesty International is concerned about his safety in Gabon because of a tradition
of very close relations between the Gabonese and Moroccan governments.
Amnesty International is concerned that the Gabonese authorities should observe the
obligation of non-refoulement set out in Article 33 of the 1951 Convention and not return
Abdelmoumen Diouri to Morocco where he would be at risk of serious human rights violations.
It is also concerned that in Gabon he might not be adequately protected against the threat
of assault or abduction by individuals or groups connected with the Moroccan authorities.
In view of this, and the risk that he might be forcibly returned to Morocco from Gabon,
Amnesty International is concerned that the French authorities have acted in breach of
their obligations under Article 33 of the 1951 Convention.
Furthermore, Amnesty International is concerned that the French authorities have
expelled Abdelmoumen Diouri to Gabon apparently without giving him the benefit of due process
of law, including allowing him a reasonable opportunity to present his case and the right
to legal representation, as required under Article 32 of the 1951 Convention. Even if the
French authorities had compelling reasons for believing that Abdelmoumen Diouri posed a
threat to French national security, it is a clear violation of France's international legal