International

Ongoing pre-trial detention of Algerian lawyer

Who we wrote to

His Excellency Abdelmadjid Tebboune, president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

The letter was also signed by:

  • Lawyers for Lawyers
  • Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
  • Justitia Center
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  • the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH)
  • International Association of Lawyers Institute for the Rule of Law
  • International Bar Association Human Rights Institute

What’s the issue

We’re concerned about the ongoing pre-trial detention of Abderraouf Arslane, a prominent lawyer at the Tébessa Bar and a representative of the Collective for the Defence of Hirak Detainees.

Mr Arslane was arrested in May while in court representing Aziz Bekakria, a Hirak activist.

He risks a life sentence for his alleged “participation in a terrorist organisation” and for “spreading false news that may undermine security and public order”.

Mr Arslane is currently in pre-trial detention, prosecuted within the same case as Mr Bekakria and two other co-defendants, all Hirak activists.

In August, the indictment chamber of the Court of Tébessa rejected his demand for provisional release.

We’re deeply concerned that the ongoing pre-trial detention and judicial harassment of Mr Arslane is connected to, and serves to curb, his legitimate activities as an attorney.

We’re also concerned that Mr Arslane is being maintained in pre-trial detention arbitrarily, without a clear and reasonable motive.

What we asked for

We urge the Algerian authorities to immediately:

  • release Abderraouf Arslane and drop all charges against him unless credible evidence is presented in proceedings that respect fair trial guarantees and put an end to all acts of harassment against him, including at the judicial level, and
  • guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in Algeria are able to carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions

Timeline

July 2021we wrote to the Algerian authorities about the harassment, prosecution, and suspensions faced by lawyers

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