Monday, 9 July 2012

Algeria: Mourad Dhina is finally freed

On 4 July - as we forecast two weeks ago - a French court rejected Algeria's requisition for Mourad Dhina's extradition (Algeria Politics & Security - 20.01.12; 27.01.12; 03.02.12 and 17.02.12), and instead ordered that he be freed.

Algeria's dossier, when it finally arrived from Algiers, was not only flimsy but effectively proved Dhina's innocence. Indeed, some of the trial observers remarked that the dossier of trumped-up terror charges looked faintly ridiculous. As Dhina's supporters have always claimed, since his arrest at Orly airport on 16 January, the Algerian government only acted against him because of his long-standing opposition to the regime. The case has proved to be extremely embarrassing for France, which went along with Algeria's request in contravention of international human rights conventions. It also means that Algeria will not be able to rely on such complicity from France in any future such cases.

At the last court hearing on 20 June, the inconsistencies of the case presented by Algeria and the incoherence of its justice system were exposed. The 4 July decision was therefore expected. In a short deliberation, the president of the trial chamber rejected Algeria's extradition request due to its lack of conformity with the 1964 extradition convention between Algeria and France and the French criminal procedure code.

Many media reports commented on the fact that Dhina, an innocent man, had been denied bail by France whereas a Rwandan national suspected of crimes against humanity and genocide, who was the object of a similar extradition to his home country, appeared before the court without being kept in detention.

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

© 2012 Menas Associates

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