Algeria failing to stop abuses by security forces: Amnesty

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Algerian authorities are failing to combat impunity for enforced disappearances and other past rights abuses by security forces, rights group Amnesty International said Friday.

In its annual report, Amnesty said the Department of Information and Security (DRS), the North African country's military intelligence agency, was arresting people and holding them incommunicado.

"The authorities failed to take any steps to combat impunity for enforced disappearances and other serious past human rights abuses," Amnesty said in its review of the past year in the country.

It said DRS officers "continued to arrest security suspects and detain them incommunicado, in some cases for more than the 12 days permitted by law, at unrecognized detention centres where they were at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

"Impunity for torturing or otherwise abusing security suspects remained entrenched."

Algeria had also failed to investigate thousands of enforced disappearances and other abuses during the country's civil war in the 1990s, Amnesty said.

The country was rocked by a bloody decade-long Islamist insurgency after the army intervened in 1992 to cancel elections that Islamic fundamentalists were poised to win.

Algeria in February lifted a state of emergency after 19 years following protests last month that threatened President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decades-old regime, against the backdrop of the Arab spring.

© 2011 AFP

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