Malik Medjnoune finally released

Malik Medjnoune was held for 12 years in pre-trial detention until international pressure from Amensty International and Alkarama, an Arab human rights organisation, forced a one-day "trial" in July 2011. He was released in May 2012, having served the full 12 years of the sentence handed down.

Medjoune was arrested on 28 September 1999 at Tizi-Ouzou by agents of the Algerian Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS). In a letter to his lawyer at the time Medjoune testified that: "Everything happened there: blows with a hoe-handle on every part of the body... Then they started torturing me with electricity."

Medjoune was then first brought before the General Attorney of Tizi-Ouzou in March 2000. The magistrate refused to call for the opening of a judicial inquiry and to bring him before the examining magistrate because of the weakness of the case. 

Two months later he was brought before the examining magistrate, after his case was brought to the attention of the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances. He was informed that he was accused of assassinating the famous Kabyle singer Lounès Matoub in June 1998.

Between 2004 and 2011, more than fifteen letters regarding Medjoune were sent to the Human Rights Committee and the UN Special Rapporteur against Torture by the organisation Alkarama ("Dignity") which concerns itself with violations of human rights in the Arab world.

The trial, initially fixed for 5 May 2001, was postponed sine die. Alkarama in a letter of 9 May 2011, reminded the Prosecutor General that, under Algeria's Penal Code, officials who refuse or neglect to respond to a complaint seeking to certify an illegal and arbitrary detention, and who do not have the excuse of having reported it to a superior authority, are punished by imprisonment for a term of five to ten years.

In July 2011, Medjoune was convicted of murder in a trial which lasted just one day. He was released on 2 May 2012, having served the 12 year sentence the court imposed.


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