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An Algerian man transferred from Guantanamo to Algeria against his will is missing.
Act now to secure his welfare and stop future involuntary transfers of men who fear for their lives.
An Algerian man who was wrongly detained at Guantánamo for nearly 8 years has gone missing after the United States sent him back to Algeria against his will. Abdul Aziz Naji did not want to return to Algeria because he feared persecution from both the Algerian government and militant anti-government forces. The Obama Administration violated both U.S. and international law by forcibly repatriating Mr. Naji, and CCR is now deeply concerned as neither his wellbeing nor whereabouts are known. In the press, Algerian officials have given mixed signals about whether or not Mr. Naji is being held in secret detention, but they have at no point revealed his location or provided evidence that he is well.
Please write the Algerian Embassy in Washington DC (at [email protected]) and the Permanent Mission of Algeria to the United Nations (at [email protected]) and demand that the Algerian government immediately account for Mr. Naji’s whereabouts and well-being. They must tell us where he is and provide assurances that he is well. The Algerian government should also comply with international law prohibiting the use of secret detention and torture. Moreover, the Algerian government must protect Mr. Naji from extremist forces in Algeria who may try to recruit him and harm him when he resists joining them. Finally, the Algerian government should in the future not accept forced repatriations of its citizens who fear they will be harmed in the country.
Mr. Naji is presumably being held in secret detention by Algerian state security forces. Although other Guantánamo detainees who have been returned to Algeria voluntarily were held in secret detention for about two weeks and eventually released, the only other detainee who publicly expressed a fear of return to Algeria was Ahmed Belbacha, who was tried, convicted and sentenced in absentia to 20 years of imprisonment in Algeria as retribution for speaking out. Mr. Naji had applied for political asylum in Switzerland, and his application was proceeding through the Swiss courts with the support of human rights groups and other advocates in that country. There was no need for the U.S. government to deliberately expose Mr. Naji to persecution by forcing him to return to Algeria.
Until the Algerian government demonstrates Mr. Naji is well, releases him from secret detention, and provides assurances for his future security, it will continue to be suspected of human rights violations, and the U.S. government which orchestrated Mr. Naji’s forced repatriation will remain accountable for Mr. Naji’s disappearance in violation of U.S. and international law.
Thank you for helping us build pressure to secure Mr. Naji’s safety and end a U.S. policy of forcibly sending people to countries where they fear they will face serious harm or death.