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UA 216/91 - France / Gabon: Summary expulsion of refugee: Abdelmoumen Diouri, refugee from Morocco

, N° d'index: EUR 21/002/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 21/02/91
Distr: UA/SC
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
obligations to expel a refugee to a country where he may not be adequately protected from
the authorities of the country he fled, or where he may not have effective and durable
protection against being returned to the country from which he has fled. Moreover, in
any such case, under Article 32.3 of the 1951 Convention the French authorities are required
in cases of expulsion to "allow such a refugee a reasonable period within which to seek
legal admission into another country". Amnesty International is concerned that Abdelmoumen
Diouri was not given any such opportunity.
page 2, UA 216/91...
Abdelmoumen Diouri is a 53-year-old Moroccan writer, a close companion of Mehdi Ben Barka,
the Moroccan socialist leader who was arrested by French police at Orly in the mid-1960's
and afterwards "disappeared". Mehdi Ben Barka, condemned to death in absentia in the 1964
trial of leaders of the Moroccan Union nationale des forces populaires (UNFP), is believed
to have been handed over to the Moroccan authorities, and subsequently extrajudicially
executed. A trial in Paris in 1966 found two members of the French police forces and the
Moroccan Minister of the Interior guilty of kidnapping Ben Barka.
Abdelmoumen Diouri was condemned to death in the same trial as Mehdi Ben Barka but
released after an amnesty in April 1965. In 1971 he went to France, where he was granted
refugee status in 1974.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- requesting assurances that the Gabonese authorities will respect the principle of
non-refoulement in the case of Abdelmoumen Diouri, who has been recognized as a refugee
in France, and will neither return him to Morocco nor to any other country from where he
might be returned against his will to Morocco;
- expressing concern at reports that Abdelmoumen Diouri is reportedly held under house
arrest (en residence surveillée) in Libreville, Gabon, and urging that, while precautions
should be taken to prevent his being returned against his will to Morocco, he should be
allowed complete freedom of movement for as long as he remains in Gabon, and the freedom
to leave Gabon for any other country of his choice which will grant him entry.
Son Excellence El-Hadj Omar BONGO
La Présidence
BP 546, Libreville, Gabon
Telegrams: President Bongo, Libreville
Telexes: 5211 PREGAB GO; 5301 SIFMAR GO
Monsieur Casimir Oyé MBA
Premier Ministre et Chef du Gouvernement
La Présidence
BP 546, Libreville, Gabon
Telegrams: President Bongo, Libreville
Telexes: 5211 PREGAB GO; 5301 SIFMAR GO
Ministre de l'Administration du térritoire et des collectivités locales
Ministère de l'Administration du térritoire et des collectivités locales
BP 2110, Libreville, Gabon
Telexes: 5638 MINATEL GO
Le Redacteur
Gabon-Matin (newspaper)
BP 168, Libreville, Gabon
Le Redacteur
L'Union (newspaper)
BP 3849, Libreville, Gabon
Africa No. 1 (radio)
BP 1, Libreville, Gabon
and to diplomatic representatives of Gabon in your country
page 216/91...
- reminding the French authorities of their obligations under the 1951 Convention relating
to the Status of Refugees, in particular Article 33 which prohibits the forcible return
in any manner whatsoever of people to a country where they risk serious human rights
- expressing concern that:
-Abdelmoumen Diouri has been summarily expelled to Gabon, where his life or freedom may
be threatened;
-this expulsion occurred apparently without allowing Abdelmoumen Diouri the benefit of
due process of law as required by Article 32 of the 1951 Convention, including
the right to present reasons against his expulsion and the right to legal
- he was not allowed a reasonable opportunity to seek admission to another country;
- and that he seems to have been expelled because of his non-violent political activities;
- calling on the French authorities:
- to thoroughly review the decision to expel Abdelmoumen Diouri, and to make the reasons
for it known to him so that he can prepare an appeal against the decision;
- and in the meantime to immediately allow him to return to France.
Ministre de l'Interieur
Ministère de l'Interieur
Place Beauveau
75008 Paris, France
Telexes: 290922 MININTR
Faxes: + 33 1 43 59 89 50
Premier Ministre
Hôtel Matignon
58 rue de Varenne
75008 Paris, France
Faxes: + 33 1 45 44 15 72
Président de la Republique
Palais de l'Elysée
55 rue du Faubourg St Honoré
75008 Paris, France
Faxes: + 33 1 42 92 80 01
Roland DUMAS
Ministre des Affaires extérieures
Ministère des Affaires extérieures
Quai d'Orsay
75007 Paris, France
Faxes: +33 1 47 53 47 53
Radio France Internationale (RFI)
BP 9516
116 ave du Président Kennedy
75016 Paris, France
Faxes: +33 1 42 30 40 31
and to diplomatic representatives of France in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 25 July 1991.

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