Algeria: NGO decries unlawful listing of pro-democracy militants as terrorists
Several human rights militants and vocal critics have been unfairly included by the Algerian authorities in its bogus terrorism list in blatant violation of international conventions and laws.
In a press release, the Geneva-based NGO Al-Karama has denounced lately the use by the Algerian regime of counterterrorism laws against human rights defenders and journalists in a desperate move to muzzle them, violating their right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
The UN Human Rights Committee had already slammed the violation by the Algerian regime of the rights of political opponents, saying the authorities use broad and vague terms in defining the crime of terrorism, allowing the prosecution of militants.
Al-karama had submitted to several UN experts, including the Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, a report on the decrees issued by the Algerian regime to criminalize the peaceful demands of the Hirak protesters.
On 18 May 2021, the unelected Algerian High Security Council (HSC) designated two peaceful political opposition movements RACHAD and MAK (Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylie) as “terrorists” without any judicial review, the NGO recalled.
Following the HCS designation and move, many peaceful activists, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders were prosecuted and imprisoned for their links to the two movements.
In response to these serious attacks on the rights and fundamental freedoms of Algerian citizens exiled abroad, Alkarama called on UN experts and international community to be cautious in their cooperation with the Algerian regime in the fight against terrorism, saying the illegal Algerian terror lists are made by security bodies outside of any judicial procedure and serve only to hunt down political opponents in exile.
Consequently, Interpol has refused to follow up on requests by the Algerian authorities to issue Red Notices against the listed individuals. The judicial authorities of several countries around the world have also refused to extradite opponents due to unfounded charges, which is an embarrassing rebuke for the ruling Algerian junta.
While some States such as France, Italy and Switzerland have rejected Algeria’s extradition requests against peaceful opponents, deeming their requests unjustified, few others cooperate with the Algerian regime and back its repressive policy in return for gas supplies and cash.