The Human Rights Committee called upon to intervene on behalf of Malik Medjnoun
Alkarama for Human Rights, 15 February 2009
Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the Special Rapporteur on Follow-up of Views of the Human Rights Committee, asking them to put pressure on the Algerian authorities to try Medjnoun Malik. Accused of complicity in the assassination of singer Lounes Matoub, he claims he is innocent and has been waiting 10 years to be tried. He has been on a hunger strike since 31 January 2009.
Malik Medjnoun has been detained without trial for almost ten (10) years. To date the Algerian authorities have refused to carry out the Committee’s views of 14 July 2006 concerning his case. The Committee urged the Algerian authorities « to bring Medjnoun Malik immediately before a judge to answer charges or to release him, conduct a full and thorough investigation into the incommunicado detention and treatment suffered by Malik Medjnoune since 28 September 1999, and to initiate criminal proceedings against the persons alleged to be responsible for those violations… «
Since then, 19 criminal sessions have been held in the criminal tribunal in Tizi-Ouzou, but the case of Mr Malik Medjnoune has not been called.
We recall that the Committee informed the Algerian state by post on 28 December 2004 « that the case should be submitted without delay to the criminal court in Tizi-Ouzou to be judged. »
In protest against the manifest refusal of the Algerian authorities to try him, Mr Medjnoun started a new hunger strike on Saturday 31 January 2009.
The following day, 1 February 2009, the prosecutor of the court of Tizi Ouzou went to the civil prison to ask him to stop his hunger strike, and also promised that his case would be judged « after the election. » The election is scheduled for April.
During his last hunger strike a year ago, judicial authorities had also made him the same promise, stating that it was a « sensitive political issue » and that they lacked the freedom to decide to try the case.
The failure of the Algerian state to carry out the Committee’s views must be stated and denounced. But we have also noted the serious interference with the legal powers of the judiciary, by giving instructions contrary to the law which would seriously violate the fundamental right of a citizen to be presented before a court.
Alkarama asks the Committee to remind the State Party of its obligations arising from its ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the terms of its views dated 14 July 2006.
Medjnoun Malik was accused of complicity in the June 1998 assassination of the very popular singer Lounes Matoub, an accusation he has always denied. Abducted near his home in Tizi-Ouzou on 28 September 1999 by agents of the Army’s secret services, the DRS (Department of Intelligence and Security) he was held incommunicado in a DRS detention center called Antar, located in Ben Aknoun, Algiers. During more than eight months of incommunicado detention, he was brutally tortured using routine security service methods (chiffon method, electricity, etc).
His parents were left without news of him throughout this period. The Attorney General of Tizi-Ouzou, petitioned by the father of the victim to open an investigation into his kidnapping and detention, refused to do so.
Worse still, Malik Medjnoun had previously been brought before this Attorney General to report the conditions of his abduction, but the latter had refused to refer Mr Medjnoun to an investigating judge, thus rendering himself guilty of kidnapping and sequestration followed by torture.
This attitude of the Prosecutor General of Tizi-Ouzou, which has enabled the DRS to torture and secretly detain a person for more than six months, powerfully underlines the connivance and involvement of the Algerian justice system in serious human rights violations .
Petitioned by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances in April 2000, the Algerian authorities then decided to ask Malik Medjnoun to appear before the investigating judge of Tizi-Ouzou on 2 May 2000. It was only then that for the first time he was confronted with the accusation of complicity in the assassination of Lounes Matoub.