The Ministry of the Interior returned to Algeria on March 24 an Algerian who had applied for asylum after denouncing that he suffered torture in his country. The return was made despite the fact that there was a resolution of the National Court ordering that it be suspended, according to what has been advanced The world. The director of the Internment Center (CIE) of Valencia, where the man was locked up, alleged that he disobeyed the resolution due to “an error of interpretation.” The National Court, however, does not see how his order could be misunderstood, since it was expressed in terms “so unambiguous that they do not require more than a cursory reading.” The magistrates have ordered the Spanish authorities, in a car last April 11that guarantee the return to Spain of the Algerian.
The 25-year-old man, called Abderrahim, had arrived in Almería on a boat on February 14 with obvious signs of torture. From the boat he was taken to the CIE, where he requested asylum. His lawyer, Carmen Cabrera, who assisted him ex officio and has fought his case for almost three months with the help of the organization Campaña CIEs No, recounts some details of his request: “He told how a criminal group that operates in the city where he lived he kidnapped him for 21 days and subjected him to daily abuse. He suffered torture that has left physical and psychological marks. They made a deep cut in his armpit and threatened to cut out his heart, they broke his nose, his face is deformed, they burned his house and his family had to flee… They left him for dead and that is why he was able to escape.” For the criminals, Cabrera explains, it was an execution for a crime of honor: Abderrahim had had a relationship with the daughter of one of the mafia bosses.
The asylum request was denied in a first phase on March 5 and also in a second examination, despite the fact that the UN refugee agency (Acnur) gave its favorable opinion so that, at least, it was admitted for processing . The UNHCR report, to which EL PAÍS has had access, maintains in the second examination: “According to the applicant’s allegations and the expert reports provided, there would be indications that the applicant has suffered inhuman and degrading treatment and that he requires specialized psychological support. ”. UNHCR points out that there are “doubts about the veracity of aspects of the applicant’s account”, but that these should be clarified in an ordinary procedure [y no con el procedimiento exprés que se aplica dentro de los CIE] and in the “right conditions”.
After learning of the denial of asylum and the order to leave Spain, the lawyer turned to the National High Court on March 18 and requested very precautionary measures (urgent execution) to prevent the expulsion of her client. The Court rejected the very precautionary ones because the person in charge of the CIE ―dependent on the Interior― reported that Abderrahim’s return was not scheduled until April 16. The magistrates considered that there would be sufficient time to study the precautionary measure of suspension, but they expressly requested that the interested party not be expelled. It was in vain. Five days after the repatriation, the director of the CIE reported that Abderrahim was already in Algeria because he had not interpreted the order correctly.
Abdelrrahim was taken to Algeria on the same plane that the Ministry of the Interior chartered that day of urgency to hand over Mohamed Benhalima, a former soldier persecuted by the regime for his opposition activity, to the Algerian authorities. Benhalima, who had a legion of followers on social networks where he denounced the corruption of the Army, also requested asylum twice and was denied, although he warned that he would be a victim of torture if he was returned to his country. The ex-military has remained in prison ever since, he has revealed that he was tortured and several causes are pending against him that could keep him in jail for life.
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In those days the friendly relationship between Spain and Algeria was falling apart. The Algerian authorities broke bridges after the announcement by the Spanish Executive to support Morocco’s solution for Western Sahara, which aims to turn it into an autonomous territory but under its sovereignty and without the possibility of its citizens participating in a self-determination referendum. Algeria, the main supporter of the Saharawi cause, reacted angrily, withdrew its ambassador, slipped that it would raise the price of gas to Spain and suspended the expulsions of its emigrants in an irregular situation. The return of Abderrahim and Benhalima, in fact, was one of the last to be carried out.
Abderrahim is currently hiding in Algiers waiting to obtain a visa that, following the instructions given by the National High Court in the order of April 11, will allow him to return to Spain. Until now, he has been waiting, without success, for an appointment at the Embassy.
The order of the Court partially accepts the request of the lawyer who requested that the Ministry of the Interior take care of the return to Spain and cover the expenses as it was an error recognized by the police authority. Although this formula is “excessive” for the magistrates, they do order the Spanish authorities to allow the man to enter and stay, as an asylum seeker, so that he can continue with his process. They also open the door for Abderrahim to make a claim of patrimonial responsibility to the State.
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