IACHR DEPLORES FORCED TRANSFER OF GUANTANAMO DETAINEE
Washington, D.C., August 2, 2010—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) deplores the forced transfer of Abdul Aziz Naji to Algeria from the United States Naval Base in Guantánamo, in breach of Precautionary Measures 259/02, granted on March 12, 2002, and of the principle of non-refoulement protected by the United Nations Convention against Torture.
According to information the Commission has received, Mr. Abdul Aziz Naji was transferred to Algeria on or about July 17, 2010, against his will. He had reportedly stated that he would rather remain in Guantánamo than be sent to his country of origin, where he was afraid of being subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Since his arrival in Algeria, his whereabouts are unknown; neither his relatives nor his lawyers have apparently had contact with him.
Mr. Abdul Aziz Naji is a beneficiary of precautionary measures granted by the IACHR in 2002, in which the Commission requested that the government of the United States "take the urgent measures necessary to have the legal status of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay determined by a competent tribunal." On July 28, 2006, the Inter-American Commission adopted Resolution 2/06, in which it stated that "where there are substantial grounds for believing that [a detainee] would be in danger of being subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the State should ensure that the detainee is not transferred or removed and that diplomatic assurances are not used to circumvent the State’s non-refoulement obligation."
On January 27, 2009, the IACHR welcomed President Barack Obama's announcement that the Guantánamo detention center would be closed. However, the Inter-American Commission expresses its deep concern over the forced transfer of Mr. Abdul Aziz Naji and the possibility that the remaining five detainees of Algerian nationality could also be forcibly transferred, including Djamel Ameziane, a beneficiary of Precautionary Measures 211/08.
The Inter-American Commission reiterates that the United States should, with respect for the principle of non-refoulement, refrain from sending any detainee to countries where there are substantial grounds for believing that the person could be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Moreover, the IACHR urges the United States to respect the recommendations contained in the precautionary measures in force. The IACHR will continue to monitor the situation of the Guantánamo detainees until the definitive closure of the detention center and the determination of their legal status, and it will especially monitor the situation of persons who face a risk of being forcibly transferred.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing any country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
Press Release 02/09: IACHR Welcomes Order to Close Guantanamo Detention Center
Press Release 27/06: Inter-American Commission Urges Closure of Guantánamo Without Delay (Includes Resolution 02/06)
Precautionary Measure 211/08 - Djamel Ameziane, United States
Precautionary Measure 259/02 - Detainees Held by the United States at Guantánamo Bay
Video and Audio of the hearing on Precautionary Measures for the Detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, held on October 28, 2008, during the Commission’s 133rd period of sessions: Video in original languages / Video in English / Video in Spanish / Audio in original languages
Video and Audio of the hearing on Precautionary Measures for the Detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, held on July 20, 2007, during the Commission’s 128th period of sessions (both in original languages).
To subscribe to the IACHR press release mailing list, please type your e-mail address in this form.