Sid Ahmed Aber

Date of arrest: 1992-02-09

Forces responsible: Military security forces


During the night of February 9, 1992, Sid Ahmed Aber, a former General Secretary of the Bir el Djir mayor’s office in Oran, was arrested at his home by plain clothes members of the military security forces. During the arrest his father had a heart attack. Sid Ahmed Aber was then taken to the Oran police station, where he was beaten and tortured for several hours to force him to confess to belonging to armed groups.

On February 12, 1992, Sid Ahmed Aber was transferred to the Reggane detention camp in southern Algeria. On June 27, 1992, he was transferred to the Oued Namous camp, in the south-west of the country, where the conditions of detention were also very difficult.

In February 1994, Sid Ahmed Aber was transferred secretly to the Tamanrasset camp in Aïn M’Guel. The military authorities did not tell his family about his detention in the camp. It was only thanks to a telephone call from the relative of a detainee – a resident of Algiers who had permission to visit – that his relatives found out about his detention in that camp. On November 23, 1995, Sid Ahmed Aber was released after three years and nine months in detention on the basis of an amnesty, without any judgement or judicial decision having been adopted.

On October 11, 1997, Sid Ahmed Aber was abducted in Oran by three members of the military security forces. He was taken to the Magenta detention centre of the Military Security Directorate, where he was severely tortured. After his first three months of detention there, he was transferred to a “dark room” as a punishment for having tried to communicate with other detainees. After these three months of solitary confinement, he was again interrogated and tortured.

It was only 13 days after his abduction that Sid Ahmed Aber’s family found out where he was being held, thanks to the testimony of a co-detainee.

On March 23, 1998, the authorities released him from the Magenta centre, on condition that he does “not talk to the press, file a complaint or communicate with people”, on pain of death. He was given a document that he signed without being able to read it.

In May 2002, Sid Ahmed Aber left for France, where he was granted political asylum on April 28, 2003.

Steps taken

December 22, 1997: Sid Ahmed Aber’s sister petitions the general in command of Oran’s second military region and the Chairman of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights.

January 3, 1998: His sister files a petition with the State prosecutor of the Algiers Supreme Court and sends a letter to the Ministry of Justice, to no avail. The authorities keep denying Sid Ahmed Aber’s detention at the Magenta centre, saying that he had escaped and that “State services are not responsible”.

April 15, 1998: After his release, Sid Ahmed Aber applies for “State protection and an end to his harassment by the security services”.

June 23, 1998: State prosecutor of Oran’s Department of Prosecutions invites Sid Ahmed Aber to address his application to the Directorate-General of National Security in Algiers.

December 1998: Members of the gendarmerie questions Sid Ahmed Aber about his detention in the Magenta centre.

May 24, 2005: Having exhausted all the domestic remedies, Sid Ahmed Aber seizes the UN Human Rights Committee.

Decision of the Human Rights Committee

Communication number: 1439/2005
Date adopted: 2005-05-24
Source/Author: Sid Ahmed Aber (represented by counsel, Nassera Doutour)
Violations found:

Prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; right to liberty and security of person; arbitrary arrest and detention; respect for the inherent dignity of the human person; right to recognition as a person before the law.


The State party is under an obligation to take appropriate steps to (a) institute criminal proceedings, in view of the facts of the case, for the immediate prosecution and punishment of the persons responsible for the ill-treatment to which the author was subjected, and (b) provide the author with appropriate reparation, including compensation. The State party is, further, required to take measures to prevent similar violations in the future.

Implemented by the Algerian authorities?: No