March 30, 2023

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An exiled Algerian anti-regime activist says he has been granted UN refugee status


Zaki Hannache, an Algerian human rights activist, announced on Friday that he has been granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This image of Hiraq, the popular protest movement that forced Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to leave office in 2019, was very active on social networks. His commitment to freeing prisoners of conscience led to several weeks of detention and prosecution in Algeria earlier in the year.Forgiveness for acts of terrorism“and”Spreading false information».

After his release, he went to Tunisia to seek asylum, but he said on Facebook on Friday that he knew that.Tunisian authorities sought to extradite him to Algeria“and have”Had to go to UNHCR to ask for their protection“.United Nations Refugee AgencyIt decided to grant me refugee status“, he declared. “Also, UNHCR has confirmed that I am not a terrorist or a criminal“.Determining refugee status is primarily the responsibility of states, but UNHCR can, in some cases, also take over this procedure.

Up to 35 years in prison in Algeria

In a communication to the Algerian government in mid-September, UN rapporteur Mary Lawler on the situation of human rights defenders expressed “Mr. Hannachi’s arrest and detention and the charges against him appear to be directly related to his work as a human rights defender.».

This week, 55 organizations, mainly Algerian and Tunisian, but also international, said they feared Hannah would be extradited to Algeria, where she could face up to 35 years in prison.For the sole fact that he exercised freedom of expression (his right).».

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«The Tunisian authorities must not repeat the dangerous precedent under any circumstancesBy Algerian activist Sliman BouhafsKidnappedin Tunisia and extradited to Algeria in August 2021, they indicated in a press release.

Since 2019, Algerian authorities have prosecuted hundreds of people in connection with hirak, or the protection of human rights, according to the National Committee for the Liberation of Prisoners (CNLD).