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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                        

Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria

Security forces enjoy impunity for violent acts, including torture and extrajudicial killings committed against detainees, activists, and others, although the frequency of politicized abuses has apparently decreased in recent years. Angolan prisons are reported to be overcrowded, unhygienic, lacking in necessities, and plagued by sexual abuse. 

[Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Description: Algeria

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Algeria.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Algeria

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 2 July 2021]


There were some significant reports of mental and physical abuse in detention centers that raised human rights concerns.

Authorities held some pretrial detainees in prolonged solitary confinement. Authorities held Karim Tabbou, leader of the unrecognized political party Union Democratique et Sociale (UDS), in solitary confinement from his arrest in September 2019 until his July release.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 14 May 2020]


Allegations of torture have decreased since the end of the war, but human rights activists still accuse the police of using excessive force and abusing detainees.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or download PDF at

[accessed 18 March 2015]


2014 saw no overall improvement in human rights conditions in Algeria despite promises tha the government has made since 2011 to introduce reforms. Authorities curtailed free speech and the rights to freedom of association, assembly, and peaceful protest, and arrested and prosecuted political and trade union activists.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 15 January 2013]

There is ample evidence of the practice of torture by Algerian security agencies, particularly of persons under interrogation who are suspected of committing security offenses, whether in Algeria or while living abroad. Amnesty International’s report, “Algeria: Unrestrained Powers: Torture by Algeria’s Military Security,” published on July 9, 2006, states:

Torture and other ill-treatment in Algeria continue to be perpetrated with impunity in cases of arrests and detentions of individuals who are suspected of terrorist activities. This report is based on dozens of cases of torture or other ill-treatment by the DRS (Department for Information and Security, Département du renseignement et de la sécurité), about which Amnesty International has received information in recent years. Those arrested come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some have been detained for alleged involvement with armed groups in Algeria, others were resident abroad and arrested on suspicion of involvement in international terrorist networks.

The UN Committee against Torture (CAT), in its concluding observations, dated May 26, 2008, on Algeria’s report to the committee, voiced concern about continuing reports of secret detention centers “outside the control of the courts.”


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

The government lifted the nationwide state of emergency in force since 1992, but maintained tight restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly, and on practising religious beliefs. The security forces used excessive force in dispersing some demonstrations and in response to instances of rioting; several people were killed. Detainees remained at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY - Those detained as terrorism-related suspects were allegedly tortured and ill-treated while held by the Department of Information and Security (military intelligence), and in some cases were detained incommunicado in what may have amounted to enforced disappearances.   On 18 July, Abdelhakim Chenoui and Malik Medjnoun were sentenced to 12 years in prison after an apparently unfair trial after which they were found guilty of murdering Kabyle singer Lounès Matoub years before. Both had been held without trial since 1999. Their conviction was based on a “confession” that Abdelhakim Chenoui said he had been forced to make under duress and which he later retracted.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 25 December 2018]


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 15 January 2013]

[accessed 2 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Both the constitution and Legal Code prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; however, there were reports by AI and Algeria Watch that government officials employed such practices.

Although the Penal Code prohibited torture, legislation enacted in September 2004 criminalized torture, and government agents now face prison sentences for up to three years for committing such acts. Impunity remained a problem (see section 1.d.).

According to human rights lawyers the incidence and severity of torture is on the decline due in part to better training of the security forces and alternative intelligence gathering techniques. However, they maintained that torture still occurred in military prisons, more often against those arrested on "security grounds." In May, AI reported that the "chiffon" method--stuffing a rag into someone's mouth while forcing contaminated liquids into the victim's stomach until he or she vomits, while at the same time making it almost impossible to breathe--was the preferred method of torture because it left no physical traces of assault.

Seven gendarmes were in detention in a military prison in Blida awaiting trial on charges of torture and maltreatment.

In May 2004, 24 adolescents were arrested in T'kout following demonstrations protesting the death of Chouaib Argabi (see section 1.a.). Six of the adolescents told their lawyer that they had been tortured and sexually abused by the gendarmerie during their detention. Their attorney, Salah Hanoun, claimed in the press that he saw physical proof of mistreatment, which included burns and bruises, and took photographs. During their trial, defense lawyers raised the issue of torture, but the judge refused to permit any discussion of the matter. Most of the accused spent at least five months in prison but received a presidential pardon in 2004. All 24 adolescents have since been released

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Not Free


[accessed 15 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 11 May 2020]

The judiciary is not independent and is susceptible to government pressure. The human rights situation remains poor, though there have been significant gains since the peak of the civil war. International human rights activists have accused the security forces of practicing torture. In July 2008, Human Rights Watch demanded that the government reveal the whereabouts of Abderrahmane Houari and Mustafa Ahmed Hamlily, who had been repatriated to Algeria earlier that month after spending years in U.S. custody at the Guantanamo Bay military base.

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study [dated]

Library of Congress Call Number DT275 .A5771 1994

[accessed 17 July 2017]

CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM – In 1987, reversing its previous policy, the government officially recognized a human rights group, the Algerian League of Human Rights. Legal status was subsequently accorded to the Committee Against Torture, which investigated allegations of government torture, as well as to a number of other human rights organizations. They have been permitted to lobby, publicize their findings, and publish reports on the treatment of detainees.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Algeria", Algeria.htm, [accessed <date>]