Enforced disappearance of Adel Saker

Enforced disappearance of Adel Saker

Alkarama for Human Rights, 02 July 2008

Alkarama wrote on June 30, 2008 a communication to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) and the Special Rapporteur on Torture to ask them to intervene urgently with the Algerian authorities in the case of Mr. Adel Saker, a victim of enforced disappearance since May 26, 2008.

Mr. Saker Adel, born on January 28, 1977, had already been arrested in 1994 when he was a minor and held for three years before being released.

A year after his release he was again arrested in 1998 and held for one year, then once more in 2001 and held for one year.

Faced with these incessant persecution from local officers of the Intelligence Services (DRS – Département du renseignement et de la sécurité) Adel’s parents took the decision in 2003 to send him to Syria to complete his studies in Arabic literature.

After a year and half of regular residence in this country, during which he normally pursued his studies, he was arrested in January 2005 by the Syrian intelligence services who informed him that they acted at the request of the Algerian security services.

It is in these conditions that he was returned on February 26, 2005 to Algeria, where he was arrested at Algiers airport by the DRS. He was held incommunicado for a full year during which he was severely tortured for several months, including electric shocks, the « technique of the cloth » and other serious abuses.

His parents received no news about him throughout that year despite their many inquiries with various institutions. They then alerted the press and several newspapers had reported his arrest.

That is certainly why on February 25, 2006, he was presented by the DRS to the public prosecutor in Algiers on charges of « belonging to a terrorist network » and having been in particular the « link between Al Qaeda and the Algerian GSPC.  » This accusation was probably meant to justify a posteriori his long detention since he was released on the same day.

The persecutions have not ceased, and he was regularly summoned by local police and detained for long hours at their premises for no clear reason.

On 26 May 2008, he was summoned again to present himself before the Security headquarters of Daira Tamalous by a police officer. As usual, Mr. Saker complied with the convocation and went to the Security headquarters Daïra of Tamalous accompanied by a relative. However, this time, he was not released at the end of the day.

His parents went the next day to the Tamalous Police headquarters to inquire about his fate but the police officers denied his arrest and detention.

The parents of Adel Saker fear he has once again been transferred to the DRS and that he would again be held incommunicado for long periods and subjected as he was in the past to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

The Prosecutor of the Republic of Tamalous and the Attorney General of Jijel have both told the family that they have not been informed of his arrest and they also refused to register their complaint.

It is now obvious that Mr. Adel Saker is the victim of an enforced disappearance: He was arrested by DRS agents and his detention is not legally recognized.

We recall the existence of people whose arrest was confirmed by the authorities, kept in detention in secret places for several months or several years like Ammari Saifi, who was arrested in October 2004 and since then disappeared.

The practice of incommunicado detention continues to be common in Algeria despite official denials of Algerian officials, like the Foreign Minister, Mr. Medelci, before the Human Rights Council and the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Jazairi, before the Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture.