Reported torture by anti-terror police investigated

Reported torture by anti-terror police investigated

NOUVELOBS.COM | 11.02.06 (an excerpt from the article)

In 1995, police reportedly tortured suspected Islamists with electricity. A police investigation is under way.

The Investigative Division (?) of the National Police opened on Thursday an administrative inquiry into allegations that anti-terror police tortured Islamist suspects in 1995, Claude Guéant, chief of staff of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, confirmed on Friday, February 10.

« We hope to have the first findings from this investigation by this evening (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday). The investigation is relatively simple, since the persons and the agencies are known, » he told Reuters.

The inqiury follows the publication of the book « Place Beauvau, » in which five agents of the Sixth Division of the Judiciary Police (which later became the National Anti-Terrorist Division) make the allegations. The book was written by three journalists from the weekly magazine Le Point .

Actors or Witnesses

According to these policemen, who say they were either participants in or witnesses to the events, some suspected Islamists were tortured with electricity with a commercially available self-defense weapon, and some were beaten or deprived of food and water for days.

The anti-terror police were investigating the attacks claimed by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group that killed ten people and wounded about 200 between July and November 1995 in Paris.

« I was revolted to read this. In 1995, we were determined to find the perpetrators of these attacks, but the chief of staff never conceived of using such methods to do so, » Guéant was reported as saying in Le Monde dated February 11. In 1995, Guéant was general director of the National Police.

The Investigative Division of the National Police will question the investigators and their superiors from that period. Roger Marion headed the National Anti-Terrorist Division in 1995. He is now the Prefet in charge of security in the city of Lille. « This is a big deal. In police circles people talk a lot, but I never heard a thing about this matter. I am not jumping to any conclusions, » Guéant told Reuters.

Torture with electricity

In their book, journalists Christophe Labbé, Olivia Recasens and Jean-Michel Decugis report that incidents of torture by electricity took place on September 11, 1995 on the premises of the Judiciary Police in Lyon. The victim was allegedly put on show by the police wearing a plastic bag over his head, and with his hands tied.

On September 27, 1995, two other men, who were later convicted for association with a criminal terrorist enterprise, were allegedly tortured by electricity, deprived of water and food and humiliated with the aid of a Quran.