Hundreds of civilians were extrajudicially executed by the security forces or deliberately and arbitrarily killed by armed opposition groups. Thousands of suspected supporters of Islamist groups detained in 1994 or previous years were tried on terrorism charges; most were sentenced to prison terms by special courts whose procedures fall far short of international fair trial standards. Among them were possible prisoners of conscience. Torture of detainees, often held in illegally prolonged incommunicado detention, was widespread; scores of detainees are reported to have died as a result. At least 300 people arrested since 1992 remained in administrative detention without charge or trial. Over 600 people were sentenced to death but no executions were reported. President Liamine Zeroual was appointed in February to replace the five-member Haut Comité d'Etat, High Council of State, and multi-party elections which had been cancelled in 1992 were not rescheduled (see Amnesty International Report 1993). The state of emergency, which had been extended indefinitely in 1993 in breach of the Constitution, remained in force. A curfew imposed on 10 provinces in 1992 and 1993 remained in place. Armed clashes between the security forces and armed Islamist groups continued during the year, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. In September the government stated that at least 10,000 people had been killed since the state of emergency was imposed in 1992, but other sources estimate the number killed to be more than 30,000. The civilian population was frequently caught between the security forces and armed Islamist groups. Teachers who, under threat by armed Islamist groups, advised female students to wear the hidjab (Islamic veil) were arrested and imprisoned for encouraging civil disobedience. Men eligible for conscription to the army faced imprisonment if they refused to enlist, and were threatened with death by armed Islamist groups if they enlisted. Relatives of suspected members of armed Islamist groups were taken hostage and ill-treated by the security forces as a means of putting pressure on those sought for arrest; relatives of members of the government and security forces were threatened and killed by armed Islamist groups. Violent attacks by both sides on individuals escalated in 1994, resulting in thousands of deaths. The authorities claimed that all those killed by the security forces had died in armed clashes. However, security forces were reported to have extrajudicially executed hundreds of civilians. Most were alleged supporters of armed Islamist groups or people suspected of helping such groups. The victims included unarmed people often killed at night during curfew hours in or near their homes, sometimes in front of their families. Others were reportedly arrested and killed in custody. Scores of extrajudicial executions appeared to have been carried out in retaliation for attacks by armed opposition groups on security forces, or as an alternative to arrest. On 19 March the body of Kouider Melal was found in the street outside his home in El Ataf, Ouedfoda, alongside the bodies of three other men from the same district who had also been under arrest. Kouider Melal had been arrested by security forces at his workplace two weeks earlier. All four bodies reportedly had bullet wounds to the head. On 3 June Fouad Bouchelaghem, a professor of physics at Blida University, was arrested from his home at night. Despite repeated requests to the authorities for information, his family were unable to obtain any information on his whereabouts for over three months. He was reportedly seen on 20 July being taken away from the Chateauneuf detention centre in the capital, Algiers. On 8 September his family learned that his body had been brought to the morgue in Bologhine on 21 July and buried some weeks later. Other killings by the security forces were reported in Cherarba, a suburb of Algiers, in April, May, July and August following attacks by armed groups on the security forces. On one occasion, on 16 August at least 20 people were killed by the security forces, reportedly after an armed group had ambushed two army vehicles earlier that day. Witnesses said the victims were killed outside their homes when security forces went from house to house questioning people about the ambush. One of them, 18-year-old high- school student Fatah Mizreb, was said to have been shot dead when he opened the door of his house. Several killings were committed during curfew hours, apparently by the security forces or by paramilitary groups acting with their consent: gendarmes or police nearby made no attempt to intervene. No public inquiries were opened into any deaths caused by law enforcement officials. Hundreds of civilians were killed by armed Islamist groups, particularly the Groupe islamique armé (GIA), Armed Islamic Group, and the Armée islamique du salut (AIS), Islamic Salvation Army. The victims included journalists, academics, civil servants, teachers, magistrates and political activists who supported the cancellation of the 1992 elections or opposed the political agenda of the Islamist groups. Scores of foreigners were also killed. In September 1993 the GIA had warned all foreigners to leave Algeria or face death. Spokesmen for the Front Islamique du salut (FIS), Islamic Salvation Front, which had gained a majority in first-round elections in December 1991 before being banned in March 1992 (see Amnesty International Reports 1993 and 1994), denied responsibility for killings carried out by armed Islamist groups, but failed to condemn such killings and sometimes justified them. In April two cousins who had just completed their military service were abducted from their home by members of an armed Islamist group. They were found dead the next day: their bodies had been mutilated with an axe. Their family later received a letter signed by the GIA threatening to kill them if they did not stop criticizing the GIA. The husband of Leila Aslaoui, Mohamed Redha Aslaoui, was stabbed to death on 17 October, shortly after his wife had resigned as government spokesperson and Minister for National Solidarity in protest at the release from prison of two senior FIS leaders. Journalists continued to be killed and threatened with death by armed Islamist groups, and at least 15 were killed during the year. They included Mohamed Salah Benachour, a journalist working for the Algerian Press Service (APS), who was shot dead on 27 October. He was the third aps journalist killed since July. Women were also killed or threatened with death by armed Islamist groups. The victims included a 17-year-old student who was killed in February, reportedly for not wearing the hidjab, and the wife of a retired gendarme who was stabbed to death in June, along with her two children. An anti-Islamist organization, the Organisation des Jeunes Algériens Libres (OJAL), Organization of Young Free Algerians, also issued death threats. In March, for example, they threatened to kill 20 veiled women and 20 bearded Islamist men for every woman killed for not wearing the veil. Shortly after, on 29 March, two veiled high-school students were shot dead at a bus stop in the suburbs of Algiers. The OJAL had also claimed responsibility for the abduction in November 1993 of Mohamed Bouslimani, the President of an Islamic charity and a founding member of the Islamist party Hamas. His body was found buried, with the throat slit, in January. His abduction had also been claimed by the GIA. Often it was not clear who was responsible for attacks on specific individuals. In June, for example, the President of the Algerian League for Human Rights (LADH), Youcef Fethallah, was shot dead by unknown gunmen as he went to his office in Algiers. The LADH had repeatedly condemned killings and other abuses by both the security forces and armed opposition groups. Thousands of militants and suspected supporters of Islamist opposition groups arrested since 1992 were tried on terrorism charges by three special courts in Algiers, Oran and Constantine. The special courts were set up under the anti-terrorist decree of September 1992 (see Amnesty International Reports 1993 and 1994). These trials violated fundamental requirements of international law. Detainees were routinely tortured during garde à vue (incommunicado) detention, which was frequently prolonged beyond the maximum 12-day period permitted by the 1992 anti-terrorist decree. Confessions extracted from detainees under torture were accepted as evidence by judges, and the courts consistently failed to investigate torture allegations, even when detainees appeared in court with obvious marks of torture. Defence lawyers were given insufficient time to prepare their case, were often not allowed to call defence witnesses, and were denied access to part of their clients' files. Defendants were denied the full right of appeal available in ordinary courts (see Amnesty International Report 1994). Over 300 people detained during mass arrests in 1992 remained administratively detained without charge in a desert camp in Ain M'Guel, in the south of the country. Lieutenant Lembarek Boumaarif, arrested in June 1992 accused of killing President Mohamed Boudiaf, and Yassine Simozrag, arrested in July 1993, who was allegedly tortured during prolonged garde à vue detention, had not been brought to trial by the end of the year (see Amnesty International Report 1994). In September Abbassi Madani and Ali Belhadji, two FIS leaders sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment in 1992, were released from prison and placed under house arrest. Five other FIS leaders sentenced in the same trial were released: two in February and three in September. The dramatic increase in torture which began in 1992 continued. Methods of torture most commonly cited were: the "chiffon" (cloth), whereby the detainee is tied to a bench and a cloth soaked with chemicals or dirty water is forced into the mouth; burning using a blowtorch (chalumeau); electric shocks to the ears, genitals and other sensitive parts of the body; tying a thread around the penis and progressively tightening the thread; sexual abuse using bottles and sticks; beatings; and death threats and mock executions. Drilling holes in the back, feet or legs was also reportedly used as a method of torture. The authorities failed to investigate a single torture allegation, to Amnesty International's knowledge. Noureddine Lamdjadani, a doctor, alleged he was repeatedly tortured for two months. He was arrested on 17 May and remained in garde à vue detention until 17 July. He stated that he was blindfolded, subjected to the "chiffon" torture, and beaten for three days in the central police station in Algiers. He was then transferred, blindfold and in the boot of a car, to the detention centre of Chateauneuf, where he alleged he was again repeatedly tortured by the same methods and threatened with death. He remained in detention awaiting trial at the end of the year. At least 600 people were sentenced to death, most of them in absentia, by special courts in trials which violated international standards for fair trial. However, the moratorium on executions announced in December 1993 remained in force throughout 1994. At least eight Tunisian asylum-seekers, all recognized as refugees by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, were forcibly returned to their country despite fears that they would be at risk of serious human rights violations. Amnesty International urged the authorities to investigate allegations of extrajudicial executions and to take the necessary steps to stop them being committed by the security forces. It urged the authorities to end the use of prolonged incommunicado detention and torture. The organization called for those tried by the special courts on terrorist charges to be given fair trials, and for the authorities to review the procedures of the special courts. Amnesty International also called for the commutation of all death sentences. Amnesty International repeatedly called on the armed Islamist groups to put an end to killings of civilians and to other abuses such as abductions of civilians. It also called on the FIS leaders to condemn killings and other abuses against civilians and to call on the armed Islamist groups to end human rights abuses. In October Amnesty International published a report, Algeria: Repression and violence must end. In an oral statement to the UN Commission on Human Rights in February, Amnesty International included reference to its concerns in Algeria.

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