Date of arrest: 1995-03-25
Forces responsible: Police
Riad Boucherf was arrested on July 25, 1995, at 11 a.m. in his neighbourhood by five plainclothes policemen from the 17th arrondissement of Algiers. He was handcuffed, put into the trunk of a car and driven away to the 17th arrondissement police station. His mother was alerted by neighbours who had witnessed the arrest. She then began making enquiries about the whereabouts of her son the next day. According to her, the arrest is linked to the death of a policeman, Yadel Halim, on July 13, 1995. On December 31, 1996, Riad Boucherf was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment by the Tribunal of Abane Ramdane Street (Algiers). She has not received further information since then.
November 13, 1995 – February 17, 1998: The author submits a total of 14 complaints to the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Tribunal of Hussein Dey and of the Court of Algiers (Procureur Général du Tribunal d’Hussein Dey et de la Cour d’Alger), the President of the Republic, the Head of Government, the Ombudsman of the Republic (Médiateur de la République), the President of the National Observatory for Human Rights (Observatoire National des Droits de l’Homme) and the ministries of defence, justice and the interior, requesting an investigation into the whereabouts of her son.
July 13, 1996 – October 15, 1997: Riad Boucherf’s mother receives six written communications by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Tribunal of Hussein Dey all stating that the authorities had no information on the whereabouts of Riad Boucherf, and that he was in fact sought by the police.
February 23, 1997: The author receives a letter from the Ombudsman, acknowledging receipt of her complaint and stating the matter was being investigated.
March 4, 1997: The author receives a written communication by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Court of Algiers stating that the authorities had no information on the whereabouts of Riad Boucherf, and that he was in fact sought by the police.
September 6, 1999: The President of the National Observatory for Human Rights informs the author that Riad Boucherf is not sought, nor has he been arrested. He also notes that the matter has been investigated by the police under case file No. 1990 of September 6, 1998.
September 9, 1997: The police issues a statement denying that Riad Boucherf has ever been arrested or is in their custody.
April 30, 2000: The author is summoned for the first time by the investigating magistrate of the Tribunal of Hussein Dey.
February 2002: The author is summoned for the second time by the investigating magistrate of the Tribunal of Hussein Dey. On this occasion, the author is told that her son is a “terrorist”.
April 26, 2003: The Tribunal of Hussein Dey holds that there are no grounds for prosecution (non-lieu).
May 6, 2003: The Director of Public Prosecutions of the Court of Algiers informs the author that the decision not to prosecute has been referred to the Indictment Division (Chambre d’Accusation) of the Court of Algiers for review.
June 30, 2003: Having exhausted all the domestic remedies, the author seizes the UN Human Rights Committee.
Decision of the Human Rights Committee
Right to liberty and security of person; arbitrary arrest and detention; right to counsel; prohibition of torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (including in relation to the author and the author’s son); trial in absentia; right to recognition before the law.
The State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy, including a thorough and effective investigation into the disappearance and fate of the author’s son, his immediate release if he is still alive, adequate information resulting from its investigation, and adequate compensation for the author and her family for the violations suffered by the author’s son. The State party is also under a duty to prosecute criminally, try and punish those held responsible for such violations. The State party is also under an obligation to take measures to prevent similar violations in the future. The State party should not invoke the provisions of the draft amnesty law (Projet de Charte pour la Paix et la Réconciliation Nationale) against individuals who invoke the provisions of the Covenant or have submitted or may submit communications to the Committee.