Islamic Human Rights Commission
04 September 2008
Alert Update: Slovakia – Algeria extradition cancelled for Mustafa Labsi
On 7 August 2008, Slovakia’s Supreme Court decided to cancel ‘terror’ suspect Mustafa Labsi’s planned extradition to Algeria. This decision followed a 26 June Constitutional Court (ECHR) ruling in Labsi’s favour and a subsequent European Court of Human Rights decision on 18 July, also siding with Labsi. The Algerian native complained that his fundamental human rights could not be guaranteed in Algeria, whose government demanded his extradition to carry out criminal prosecution on terror-related charges and his suggested links with al-Qaeda. Labsi, who is to be compensated for all court costs, was freed on 7 August in Bratislava and then immediately recaptured by Slovak Foreign Police.
Although the Algerian government had assured Slovak authorities that Labsi would be allowed a new and fair trial upon his return, the Slovak Supreme Court’s prior decision to allow Labsi to be returned to Algeria had essentially placed him under serious risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in light of their long history of human rights violations.
Labsi was suspected to be involved with Al-Qaeda and was reportedly arrested by Slovak police on 4 May 2007 on the request of the Algerian government. He was ‘tried in absentia in Algeria and sentenced to life imprisonment on charges related to terrorism’, according to reports received by Amnesty International. Thus, since his arrest he had been detained in Bratislava, awaiting the court’s decision on his possible extradition.
Upon the ECHR court win, Labsi’s lawyer Maria Kolikova stated: “In my opinion, in a democratic society the only higher goal is a legal state – including a fair trial, and the maintaining of human rights. It’s necessary to prosecute crimes, including terrorism and I’m convinced that it’s possible to do so while observing human rights”. IHRC thanks campaigners who wrote to the Slovak Ambassadors in their countries, urging them to call on the Slovak Minister of Justice, Stefan Harabin, to stop Mustapha Labsi’s extradition to Algeria.
For further background information about Labsi’s extradition trials, please visit:
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