ALGERIA: THE GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO IMPLEMENT THE DECISION OF THE UN WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTION FOLLOWING ITS CONVICTION IN THE CASE OF THE SAHRAWI ACTIVIST, EL FADEL BREICA
On 8 June 2022, in the framework of the follow-up procedure, Alkarama addressed the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to inform it of the refusal of the Algerian authorities to implement Opinion No. 7/2020, which establishes and recognises the serious violations suffered by Mr. Breica following his arrest and arbitrary detention on 18 June 2019 by the Frente Polisario
In its Opinion n°7/2020 adopted on 1 May 2020 during its 87th session, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had characterised the deprivation of liberty of the victim as arbitrary and had called on the Algerian authorities to open an investigation about the abuses of which Breica was a victim and that were committed by the Polisario and to compensate him in accordance with international law.
REMINDER OF THE FACTS
Mr. Breica is a human rights defender who had regularly denounced the violations committed by the Polisario in Tindouf's camps. He was arbitrarily arrested on 18 June 2019 while visiting his family in Algeria. Severely beaten during interrogations, he went on hunger strike on 15 July 2019 following which he was transferred to hospital in emergency. He was taken back to prison and placed in isolation as a reprisal after he refused the request of a Polisario representative to end his strike.
It is in these conditions that Alkarama, mandated by his family, submitted his case to the United Nations Working Group.
THE REFUSAL OF THE ALGERIAN AUTHORITIES TO IMPLEMENT THE WGAD’S OPINION
İn response to the Algerian authorities' unwillingness to implement the UN experts' Opinion in good faith, Alkarama once again addressed the President of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in the framework of the follow-up procedure to inform them of Algeria's refusal.
Algeria has been regularly condemned by both the UN Special Procedures and the Human Rights Committee for the abuses committed by the Frente Polisario, a non-state actor, in Tindouf, on Algerian territory against Saharawi refugees.
The WGAD recalled in its Opinion No. 7/2020 that "the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Algeria on 12 September 1989, each State party to the Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the Covenant.”
The Working Group also highlighted the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee on the fourth periodic report of Algeria in which the Committee expressed its concern about the de facto devolution of powers, including jurisdictional powers, from the Algerian Government to the Polisario, stating that " such a situation was inconsistent with the State party’s obligation to respect and guarantee all Covenant rights for all persons within its territory”.
Consequently, the Working Group concluded to Algeria’s responsibility for the violations suffered by Mr. Breica since he was in Tindouf, Algerian territory, which falls within the territorial jurisdiction of the State party.