Allal Drif

Date of arrest: 1995-01-29

Forces responsible: Gendarmerie


Allal Drif, who lived with his family in Berbissa, was arrested on January 29, 1995, on his way to work. He was stopped by two armed gendarmes and two armed communal guards traveling in official vehicles, who brought him to the Berbissa gendarmerie station. When his mother went to the gendarmerie to inquire about her son’s arrest, the gendarmes denied having arrested him and refused to give her further information other than the fact that her son was wanted by state authorities. He was last seen on February 1, 1995, by a family friend working for the Berbissa gendarmerie as a gardener, who informed Allal’s relatives that he had seen him being detained in the gendarmerie’s facilities and that he seemed like he had been subjected to ill-treatment. He added that he was transferred to another detention center a few days later. Allal’s family has not seen or heard from him since.

Steps taken

January 29, 1995: Allal Drif’s mother goes to the gendarmerie station in Berbessa to inquire about his arrest, to no avail.

January 29 – February 1, 1995: his mother sends several letters to national institutions to further inquire about her son’s arrest and disappearance.

November 17, 1996: His father is summoned by the Tipaza’s criminal investigation service.

August 28 and 31, 1997: his mother sends two letters to the Ombudsman of the Republic (Médiateur de la République).

October 15, 1997: The  Ombudsman acknowledges receipt of his mother’s letters and informs her that her son’s file has been transmitted to the competent authority.

1998: Allal’s family write several letters to the Ministry  of Justice, leading to his mother being summoned by the Ministry of  Justice and the wilaya office.

March 4, 1999: His mother is summoned to appear before the military court of Blida on April 19, 1999.

August 30, 1999: His mother sends a letter to the President of the Republic.

December 13, 1999: His mother and the parents of several other disappeared persons write a joint letter to the President.

April 13, 2003: His father appeals to the Minister  of Justice, the Head of Government, the President and the National  Advisory Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

September 13, 2004: His father lodges a complaint  with the investigating judge at the court of Kolea against the two of  the officers who arrested Allal Drif.

August 27, 2006: His mother sends letters to the  Minister of Justice, the Head of Government, the President, the National  Advisory Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights  and Minister of Interior. His mother also writes to the public  prosecutor of the court of Kolea.

December 27, 2006: His parents receive a reply from the  Office of the President, inviting them to initiate a procedure to  obtain compensation under Ordinance No. 06.01 of 27 February, 2006. They  refuse to file an application for compensation, which would imply an  abandonment of the steps taken to uncover the truth about their son’s fate.

February 21, 2007: His mother reiterates her request to the public prosecutor of the court of Kolea.

March 13, 2007: His parents appeal to the Head of Government and the President of the Republic.

May 11, 2009: His parents send another letter to the  President, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior and  file another complaint with the public prosecutor of the court of  Kolea.

June 25, 2009: The case of Allal Drif is submitted to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID).

June 12, 2011: His mother lodges a complaint with the public prosecutor of the court of Kolea requesting the opening of an investigation.

January 20, 2017: Having exhausted all domestic remedies, Allal Drif’s parents seize the UN Human Rights Committee.

Decision of the Human Rights Committee

Communication number: 3321/2019
Date adopted: 2022-07-08
Source/Author: Salah Drif and Khoukha Rafraf, represented counsel, Nassera Dutour, the Collectif des familles de disparu(e)s en Algérie
Violations found:

Right to an effective remedy (including in relation to the authors);  cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (including in  relation to the authors); liberty and security of person; human dignity;  recognition as a person before the law.


The State party must provide the author with an effective remedy. It  requires that States parties make full reparation to individuals whose  Covenant rights have been violated. In the present case, the State party  is in particular obliged to: (a) to conduct a prompt, effective,  thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into the  disappearance of Allal Drif and provide the authors with detailed  information about the results of its investigation; (b) to release Allal Drif immediately if he is still being held incommunicado; (c) in the  event that Allal Drif is deceased, to hand over his remains to his family  in a dignified manner, in accordance with the cultural norms and  customs of the victims; (d) to prosecute, try and punish  those responsible for the violations in a way that is commensurate with  the gravity of the violations; and (e) to provide the authors and Allal Drif, if he is alive, with adequate compensation and access to any  medical and psychological treatment they may need. In addition, the  State party is under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar  violations in the future and to ensure that it does not impede enjoyment  of the right to an effective remedy for such serious violations as  torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance. To that  end, the Committee is of the view that the State party should review its  legislation in accordance with its obligation under article 2 (2) of  the Covenant and, in particular, repeal the provisions of Ordinance No.  06-01 that are incompatible with the Covenant to ensure that the rights  enshrined in the Covenant can be enjoyed fully in the State party.

Implemented by the Algerian authorities?: No