Said ZAOUI, aged 70: Torture / Fear of further torture

PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 28/002/2001

UA 43/01
Torture / Fear of further torture

ALGERIA, 16 February 2001
Said ZAOUI, aged 70

A 70-year-old former member of a banned Islamist organization has
reportedly been tortured while in security force detention. Amnesty
International believes that he is at risk of further torture and fears for
his safety.

Said Zaoui, a former member of the banned Front islamique du salut (FIS),
Islamic Salvation Front, was arrested on 7 February in Dellys, a coastal
town some 100 kilometres east of the capital, Algiers. He was taken to a
nearby security force base, where he remains in detention. Other detainees,
who were arrested at the same time and later released, have reported that
he has been tortured.

Said Zaoui was arrested with about 20 other people following a recent bomb
attack against a military unit in the area. All but Said Zaoui were
released without charge after two or three days. The security forces
apparently used torture to extract information from the detainees, all of
whom were reportedly beaten. Some also had electricity applied to their
bodies, others were made to swallow dirty water through a cloth placed in
their mouths.

In a separate incident on 7 February, a man was extrajudicially executed in
what is thought to have been act of reprisal for the same bomb attack.
Karim Bentouati, who was born in 1973, was shot dead by the security forces
outside his house in the Ladjena district of Dellys.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Reports of torture and ill-treatment by the Algerian security forces have
substantially decreased in the last two years. However, dozens of people
arrested during recent months on suspicion of being linked to armed groups
have been subjected to torture or ill-treatment in custody. There is a
continued lack of investigation into these human rights violations, and
impunity is afforded to those allegedly responsible.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in French, Arabic, English or your own language:
– expressing grave concern that Said Zaoui and about 20 other men arrested
on 7 February have reportedly been tortured;
– seeking assurances that Said Zaoui will not be subjected to further
torture or ill-treatment;
– urging that he is provided with any necessary medical attention;
– asking that he is not held in incommunicado detention beyond the 12 day
legal limit, and that if held for longer, he be given access to his family
and lawyers;
– urging that the torture allegations are investigated, and that those
responsible are brought to justice;
– calling for an investigation to be carried out into the extrajudicial
execution of Karim Bentouati, and for those responsible to be brought to
justice.

APPEALS TO:

Interior Minister
M. Yazid ZERHOUNI
Ministre de l’Intérieur
Ministère de l’Intérieur et
des Collectivités Locales
18 rue Docteur Saâdane
Alger
Algérie
Telegrams: Ministre l’Intérieur, Alger, Algérie
Faxes: + 213 21 73 61 06
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Your excellency

Minister of Justice
M. Ahmed OUYAHIA
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
8 Place Bir Hakem
El Biar
Alger
Algérie
Telegrams: Ministre Justice, Alger, Algérie
Faxes: + 213 21 92 21 95
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Your excellency

COPIES TO:

State Human Rights Institution reporting to the President
M. Kamel REZZAG-BARA
President
Observatoire National des Droits de l’Homme (ONDH)
Palais du Peuple
1 Av. Franklin Roosevelt
Alger
Algérie
Faxes: + 213 21 239005

and to diplomatic representatives of Algeria accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 30 Marc