Algerian party denies leader evaded inquiry

21st October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Movement for the Society of Peace denied Tuesday that Bouguerra Soltani evaded questioning in Switzerland over torture allegations.

Algiers -- An Algerian Islamist party denied Tuesday claims by a human rights group that its leader and former minister Bouguerra Soltani evaded questioning in Switzerland over torture allegations.

The Movement for the Society of Peace in a press release said it "denies entirely every detail and in a categorical manner" the claim that MSP leader Soltani "was the subject of an attempted arrest in Switzerland and that he fled the country" to evade the law.

According to the MSP, Soltani arrived Thursday in Switzerland answering an invitation from the Swiss Muslim League. The MSP says he left the country Saturday on an Air Algerie flight.

The Swiss campaign group Track Impunity Always (TRIAL) filed charges against Soltani in Fribourg on 12 October after learning he was to visit the town for a conference.

Philip Grant, the president of TRIAL, told AFP Soltani was expected in Fribourg on Saturday, but the authorities were unable to find him.

"We are not absolutely sure Bouguerra Soltani has fled Switzerland. He didn't come to Fribourg as expected on Saturday though he was in Geneva on Friday, so something stopped him or persuaded him not to come," Grant said.

Jean-Luc Mooser, the investigating magistrate in Fribourg, told AFP, "I assume he has left Switzerland, but I can't be sure about it.

"I have established that he was not in the Fribourg area on Saturday."

TRIAL, which is based in Geneva, said that while he was a government minister, Soltani directed and participated in the torture of Nouar Abdelmalek, a senior government official at the time.

According to TRIAL, Abdelmalek was arrested on false charges in June 2005 after naming Soltani in a Defence Ministry report and was subjected to electric shocks and waterboarding while in custody.

AFP / Expatica


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