UN-WGAD slams Algeria over abduction & arbitrary detention of activist Kamira Nait Sid, calls for her immediate release

UN-WGAD slams Algeria over abduction & arbitrary detention of activist Kamira Nait Sid, calls for her immediate release

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has slammed Algeria for the abduction, unlawful confinement and arbitrary detention of activist Kamira Nait Sid since August 2021.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN-WGAD) issued a ruling in this regard after examining the complaints of abduction, unlawful confinement and arbitrary detention of Kamira Nait Sid, filed by the Amazigh World Congress and Riposte Internationale NGO against the Algerian state.

The complaint on the case of Kamira Nait Sid, co-president of Riposte Internationale and the Amazigh World Congress (CMA), for kidnapping, sequestration and arbitrary detention, is not an isolated case as hundreds of other people are arbitrarily detained or abducted by the Algerian military regime, sometimes on alleged accusations of terrorism.

The ruling comes at a time when the Algerian military regime has been holding activist Kamira Nait Sid for more than a year arbitrarily and without a trial, and turns a deaf ear to international indignation and injunctions, according to UN-WGAD.

Kamira Nait Sid was abducted and detained by Algerian state agents, on August 24, 2021, which constitutes “a particularly serious form of arbitrary detention”, the UN Body says.

The Algerian Govenment does not report any activity carried out by Ms. Nait Sid that could be considered as constituting an act of terrorism. In the absence of information demonstrating her involvement in acts of violence, there are no legitimate grounds for restricting the exercise of her freedoms, the UN agency points out.

The Government did not explain why it was necessary to prosecute Ms Nait Sid in order to protect a legitimate interest or why charging her with serious terrorist crimes carrying long prison sentences was a proportionate response to her activities. Furthermore, there was no evidence that Ms Nait Sid’s conduct or activities could be considered a threat to national security, public order, public health or morals, or the rights or reputations of others. The Government does not specifically mention any act of terrorism committed by Ms. Nait Sid. The Working Group concludes that she was arrested and detained because she is a member of the Amazigh community and defends its rights.

The UN-WGAD argues that Ms. Nait Sid is detained for exercising the rights enshrined in articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 19, 22 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and that her deprivation of liberty is contrary to the provisions of article 7 of the UDHR and article 26 of the Covenant.

The arrest and detention of Ms. Nait Sid are devoid of any legal basis and are therefore arbitrary, the UN body insists, adding that the activist is deprived of her liberty on discriminatory grounds, namely her national, ethnic or social origin and her status as a human rights defender, in violation of Articles 2 and 7 of the UDHR and Articles 2 and 26 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Consequently, no trial concerning Ms. Nait Sid should take place and the Algerian Government must immediately and unconditionally release the activist, who has been arbitrarily deprived of her liberty since 24 August 2021, and ensure that she receives the necessary medical care. The Government must also grant her the right to obtain redress, including compensation, in accordance with international law.

Likewise, the Algerian Government should ensure that a thorough and independent investigation is carried out into the circumstances of the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mrs. Nait Sid, and take appropriate action against those responsible for the violation of her rights.

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