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Algeria: Sixth series of detainee visits

02-05-2002 News Release 02/18

A team of five delegates, including a doctor, carried out a sixth round of visits between 16 March and 24 April to prisons run by the Ministry of Justice. For the first time, ICRC delegates were also able to visit Ministry of the Interior police stations and Ministry of Defence gendarmeries , where people are held on remand. The delegates assessed conditions of detention and treatment in 14 prisons and 20 places where people are held on remand, under the jurisdiction of the courts of Alger, Blida, Chlef, Ghardala, Laghouat and Tlemcen.

These facilities house a total of 8,107 inmates. Delegates conducted private interviews with 472 detainees of their choice, including 43 women and 60 minors. They showed particular concern for general conditions of detention, relations between detainees and their families, health care, recreational and educational activities and relations between detainees and the prison authorities.

The delegates also spoke to 194 persons recently remanded in custody. During their visits to police stations and gendarmeries , they pointed out to the persons responsible for these facilities the ICRC’s general observations on the subject of remand.

The ICRC wishes to step up the discussions it is holding with all the authorities concerned with a view to ensuring that people deprived of their freedom are protected from the moment of their arrest.