Monday, 25 July 2011

Algeria: Assassination attempt on SNAPAP leader

On Friday 15th July, after we had gone to press, there was an attempt to assassinate Rachid Malaoui, the human rights activist and chairman of the independent trade union Syndicat national autonome du personnel de l'administration publique (SNAPAP). The planned was scuppered when the brakes of his vehicle were discovered to have been sabotaged. SNAPAP and Malaoui have both been at the forefront of demonstrations against the government. It is no secret that Malaoui is a target of the security services.

He was brutally assaulted during a demonstration in Algiers on 19th February. He is also under a travel ban that has prevented him from meeting and building links with international trade unions. SNAPAP is one of the most active organisations in Algeria and is supported by both the unemployed and the private sector workers. It is a major challenge to the State's own Union Générale des Travailleurs Algériens (UGTA), which tends to look after the interests of the government rather than the workers.

The Malaoui incident has reminded Algerian activists that the regime has never held back from eliminating those who stand in its way; whether they be the president, as in the case of Mohamed Boudiaf (Chairman of the High Council of State), assassinated by the DRS in 1992, or leading members of the security establishment who are not prepared to bend to their corrupt and ruthless methods, such as General Saidi Fodil, who was assassinated by the DRS in a 'car accident' in 1996.

Since those days, many other prominent opponents of the regime have simply been 'eliminated'. We remind readers of Ahmed Kerroumi, a professor at the University of Oran and member of the opposition Democratic and Social Movement party and the Oran section of the National Coordination for Change and Democracy, whose body was found on 23rd April, four days after he reportedly disappeared. As expected, no one has been charged with his murder.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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