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Algeria: Kamira Nait Sid is a human rights defender and her detention is arbitrary, according to the UN

Date : 2022-10-16 19:46:00

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN-WGAD), after examining the complaints of abduction, unlawful confinement and arbitrary detention of Kamira Nait Sid on 24 August 2021 in Algeria, filed by the CMA and Riposte Internationale and following the answers to the questions put by the UN-WGAD to the Algerian government, the UN-WGAD ruled on 1/04/2022 (A/HRC/WGAD/2022/15) that :

1. Ms Kamira Nait Sid was abducted and detained by Algerian state agents, which constitutes "a particularly serious form of arbitrary detention",

2. Ms. Nait Sid's activities in defence of the rights of the Amazigh people are protected by the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that she was detained for peacefully exercising this right,

3. in her capacity as co-president of the CMA, Ms. Nait Sid was peacefully exercising the right to freedom of association guaranteed in Article 20 of the UDHR and Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and she was arrested for this reason. In particular, she was arrested for peacefully defending her right and that of other members of the Amazigh community to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion and to use their own language, as guaranteed by article 27 of the Covenant,

4. The Algerian Government does not report any activity carried out by Ms. Nait Sid that could be considered as constituting an act of terrorism. In the absence of information demonstrating her involvement in acts of violence, there are no legitimate grounds for restricting the exercise of her freedoms,

5. the Government did not explain why it was necessary to prosecute Ms Nait Sid in order to protect a legitimate interest or why charging her with serious terrorist crimes carrying long prison sentences was a proportionate response to the activities complained of. Furthermore, there was no evidence that Ms Nait Sid's conduct or activities could be considered a threat to national security, public order, public health or morals, or the rights or reputations of others. The Government does not specifically mention any act of terrorism committed by Ms. Nait Sid. The Working Group concludes that she was arrested and detained because she is a member of the Amazigh community and defends its rights,

6. Ms. Nait Sid is detained for exercising the rights enshrined in articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 19, 22 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and that her deprivation of liberty is contrary to the provisions of article 7 of the UDHR and article 26 of the Covenant. The arrest and detention of Ms. Nait Sid are devoid of any legal basis and are therefore arbitrary,

7. Ms. Nait Sid is deprived of her liberty on discriminatory grounds, namely her national, ethnic or social origin and her status as a human rights defender, in violation of Articles 2 and 7 of the UDHR and Articles 2 and 26 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Consequently, no trial concerning Ms. Nait Sid should take place,

8. The Algerian Government must immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Nait Sid, who has been arbitrarily deprived of her liberty since 24 August 2021, and ensure that she receives the necessary medical care. The Government must also grant her the right to obtain redress, including compensation, in accordance with international law,

9. The Algerian Government should ensure that a thorough and independent investigation is carried out into the circumstances of the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mrs. Nait Sid, and take appropriate action against those responsible for the violation of her rights,

10. The Working Group requests the Government of Algeria to use all means at its disposal to disseminate the present Opinion as widely as possible.

Summary of the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the case of Kamira Nait Sid, produced by the CMA, 1.09.2022.

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