Portuguese / Spanish / English

Algeria: Calls to investigate the death of a political activist in prison

Hakim Debbazi [@GheZinou/Twitter]
Hakim Debbazi [@GheZinou/Twitter]

Amnesty International and a political party in Algeria have called for an investigation into the death of a political activist while he was on remand.

A few days ago, activist Hakim Debbazi, 55, died in Koléa Prison in the coastal province of Tipaza, west of the capital, then he was buried on Monday.

According to human rights organisations and activists, Debbazi was an activist in the Hirak movement, and he was arrested in February due to posts on Facebook in which he criticised the authorities.

According to the activists, Debbazi submitted a request weeks ago for provisional release due to his health, but his request was rejected.

Algerians protest president's bid for 5th term - Cartoon [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Algerians protest president's bid for 5th term – Cartoon [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Abderrazak Makri, head of the Movement of Society for Peace, said: "The death of a political detainee in prison is a grave issue that must not be tolerated, otherwise, the hope that politics is a field for reforming the country and people's affairs will vanish."

"The authorities have to explain the reasons for the arrest of Debbazi and the circumstances of his death, and not go beyond the truth in that," Makri said in a tweet.

So far, Algerian authorities have not commented on the case.

Amnesty International called on authorities to "open an independent, inclusive and transparent investigation" into the circumstances around Debbazi's and to announce its results.

The National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD), an Algerian human rights organisation, said it has "counted more than 300 prisoners of conscience in the country who were arrested months ago in the so-called rallies of the Hirak Movement against the ruling regime."

READ: Algeria president pardons 1,000+ prisoners

The Hirak movement is an uprising that erupted on 22 February 2019, which toppled the late President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and continued for months later during the period of the current President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to demand a comprehensive reform of the governing system.

Algerian authorities deny the presence of prisoners of conscience in the country.

President Tebboune has previously said: "Insulting and cursing is not an opinion, and whoever exploits the Internet for insulting, cursing and defaming people's honour is not an opinion."

"We do not have a prisoner of conscience in Algeria," he added.

Categories
AfricaAlgeriaAmnesty InternationalInternational OrganisationsNews
Show Comments
Writing Palestine - Celebrating the tenth year of the Palestine Book Awards - Buy your copy of the book now
Show Comments