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Algeria: Fourth series of visits to detainees

07-06-2001 News Release 01/22

Under a 1999 agreement with the Algerian government authorizing the ICRC to visit detainees held in establishments run by the Ministry of Justice, a team of five delegates, including a doctor, carried out a fourth series of visits between 21 April and 2 June 2001. The team visited 11 prisons under the jurisdiction of the courts of Médéa, Mascara, Tamanrasset, Tizi Ouzou, Jijel and Batna. In addition to seeing what action had been taken on their recommendations in two facilities visited previously, the delegates assessed detention conditions in nine establishments being visited for the first time, primarily by means of interviews without witnesses. These interviews also allowed them to check on treatment and conditions in places run by the Ministries of the Interior and of Defence where detainees were held following arrest.

The four remand centres, four rehabilitation centres and three reintegration centres visited housed a total of 4,904 inmates, including 39 women and 38 minors. The delegates held interviews in private with 457 of them, including 186 arrested since summer 2000. The ICRC doctor examined sick detainees and discussed detainee health and the quality of medical care with medical and paramedical staff.

The delegates discussed their findings concerning conditions of detention, together with problems reported by the detainees, with the local detaining authorities and the Ministry of Justice. A report containing their observations and recommendations will shortly be submitted to the Algerian authorities.

Since autumn 1999, ICRC delegates have visited a total of 32 places of detention administered by the Ministry of Justice and have carried out 1,640 priv ate interviews with detainees.

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