The Spanish lawyers of the former Algerian soldier Mohamed Benhalima filed a complaint against Spain before the UN after the repatriation in March of this ex-corporal, despite the risks of torture that he faced in his country.
The complaint, of whichAFP obtained a copy Thursday, August 18, was filed earlier this month by lawyer Eduardo Gómez Cuadrado before the UN Committee against Torture. “The Spanish government maneuvered in secret to obtain the repatriation of Benhalima despite the risks of torture he could run by returning to Algeria,” reads the complaint.
Spanish law “prohibits the extradition of a person if they run the risk of being tortured or ill-treated, but also in the event of a threat of execution of a death sentence”, continues the text.
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The Committee Against Torture, founded in 2000, campaigns to compel authorities to investigate mistreatment by security forces and take action to end it. Formed by a group of independent experts who ensure compliance with the Convention against Torture, the committee publishes reports that are not binding.
“What we are asking is that Spain open an investigation into the type of interest that [Madrid] could have had to expel Benhalima in such a crude way,” said Alejandro Gamez, another lawyer for the former serviceman. Furthermore, the council continued, Spain has flouted the principle of non-discrimination by “deliberately mixing the terms Arab, Muslim, radical, Islamist and terrorist to give the impression” that Benhalima was “dangerous” and encourage his expulsion.
The Spanish government extradited in March Benhalima, a 32-year-old ex-corporal who had fled Algeria in September 2019 after taking part in Hirak, the anti-regime protest movement which had notably pushed former President Abdelaziz to resign. Bouteflika. Arrived in Spain, he had requested asylum there and had been sentenced in absentia in March 2021 in Algeria to 10 years in prison for rebellion. He has been behind bars since his return to Algeria.
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The expulsion took place amid diplomatic tensions between Spain and Algeria since Madrid first publicly backed Morocco’s proposal for Western Sahara autonomy in March, which Algiers opposes. which supports the Sahrawi separatists of the Front Polisario.