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Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH,
Fax: +44 20 7839 2417
Dear Mr. Straw,
Re: Detention of Ali Belhadj in Algeria
I am writing regarding the continued detention and imprisonment without charge of Ali Belhadj in Algeria.
Ali Belhadj was arrested and imprisoned by Algerian police on 27 July 2005 after voicing his support on television for the right of Iraqis to resist occupation. He now faces charges of \\\”praising acts of terrorism, inciting murder and distributing subversive leaflets.\\\” Under Algerian law, he can be detained without charge for a period of 4 months which can be renewed a maximum of 3 times.
Algeria is notorious for its use of torture and abuse of prisoners. The Algerian government has been routinely condemned for its use of torture by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN among others.
Ali Belhadj is a former political leader who was previously sentenced to 12 years in a military prison in 1992 for \\\”threatening state security.\\\” He was finally released in July 2003. Due to his political past, he is at particular risk of being tortured.
The right of people to resist occupation is one which is recognised by international law and supported by millions of people all over the world. For Ali Belhadj to be imprisoned without charge and tortured for stating something unequivocally recognised by the UN is to be condemned.
I urge you to raise these issues with your counterpart from the Algerian government.
I look forward to hearing from you shortly regarding the immediate action you have taken in this matter.