Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Nel silenzio di quei raccoglimenti"

The scene between the Princess and the young nun, Angelica, is one of the greatest presentations of religious fanaticism ever set to music. Chilling! - The Princess's "mystical vision" (rather nightmare of religious condemnation) begins in the video at 6:20.

Fedora Barbieri and Victoria de los Angeles sing Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini, Orchestra del Teatro dell`Opera di Roma, Tullio Serafin, conductor
Often, on an evening,
there in our chapel I pray.
In the silence of those prayers
my spirit seems to leave me
and join your mother's
in secret, ethereal communion!
How painful, how painful it is to hear
the dead mourn and weep!
When the mystical trance passes,
I have only one word to say to you:
Atone! Atone!
I offer my justice
to the Blessed Virgin!

[Nel silenzio di quei raccoglimenti,
il mio spirito par che s'allontani
e s'incontri con quel di vostra madre
in colloqui eterei, arcani!
Come è penoso, come è penoso
udire i morti dolorare e piangere!
Quando l'estasi mistica scompare
per voi serbata ho una parola sola:
Espiare! Espiare!
Offritela alla Vergine
la mia giustizia!]
English/Italian link

Friday, February 24, 2012

APA Up to Old Tricks with New "Task Force" on Psychologists in "National Security Settings"

Last month, members of the American Psychological Association announced a "new APA members-initiated Task Force to reconcile policies related to psychologists' involvement in national security settings." The movement for a new task force to ostensibly replace the 2005 task force on "Psychological Ethics and National Security" (PENS), which in the midst of the controversies surrounding use of torture at Guantanamo and other US torture prison sites, validated the use of psychologists at such sites (even as psychologists were implicated in the torture), comes at a time when a strong movement for annulment of the PENS report is underway.

This new "APA members-initiated" proposal is spear-headed by Linda Woolf, the task force chair, and Ellen Garrison, APA's Senior Policy advisor and "staff liaison" for the task force. None of the supporters of the successful 2008 APA member referendum to end psychologist participation at national security sites that fail to meet international human rights standards have been asked to participate on the new "task force." Other task force members include psychologists Laura Brown, Kathleen Dockett, Julie Meranze Levitt, and Bill Strickland.

As Coalition for an Ethical Psychology note in their statement reproduced below, three of the five current task force members actually opposed that referendum, which was passed with nearly 60& of the vote. The referendum has never been operationally instituted by APA, which has failed to date to ever state its opposition, for instance, to the presence of psychologists at Guantanamo, a US national security setting long held to be out of compliance with international human rights standards.

But the facilitators of US torture at APA (despite their verbiage to the contrary) must never read articles like this one from only last month:
(Reuters) - The United States is still flouting international law at Guantanamo Bay, despite President Barack Obama's election pledge to shut the facility, the United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Monday.

"It is ten years since the U.S. Government opened the prison at Guantanamo, and now three years since 22 January 2009, when the President ordered its closure within twelve months. Yet the facility continues to exist and individuals remain arbitrarily detained - indefinitely - in clear breach of international law," Pillay said in a statement.
The PENS report was fatally compromised by the overwhelming presence of national security/military psychologists. The new "task force" may be slightly differently constituted, as it is heavily loaded with members from APA's Division 48, the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence. But then, we have been living in an Orwellian world for decades now, and it's unlikely the new composition will fool very many people. Div. 48 is well-known for having as a group having opposed the 2008 referendum.

Task force member Dr. Stickland, from APA's Division 19, the Society for Military Psychology, is also the president of The Human Resource Research Organization (HumRRO). As Bryant Welch, himself a former APA official pointed out in an article at Huffington Post, "Today, fifty-five percent of HumRRO's budget comes from the military":
In 1951 the military established The Human Resource Research Organization (HumRRO) to develop techniques for "psychological warfare." HumRRO was run by psychologist Dr. Meredith Crawford who spent ten years as APA treasurer and was deeply involved in APA activities for three decades. Crawford's former student, Raymond Fowler, became Chief Executive Officer of APA in 1989 and stayed in that position until 2003.... The current President of HumRRO, psychologist William Strickland, has been an outspoken supporter of APA's policies on the torture issue. He served on the APA Council of Representatives throughout the APA deliberations on torture.
And so it goes.

The following is a statement (PDF) by the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, which has been spearheading the drive to annul the PENS report. (The original statement announcing the new APA "grassroots task force," can be found here.)
Coalition Rejects New “Task Force”

With the support of the Board and Administration of the American Psychological Association (APA), a self-appointed group of APA members has just announced the creation of a “Task Force to Reconcile Policies Related to Psychologists’ Involvement in National Security Settings.” Superficially, the formation of this task force appears to be a step forward in addressing critical issues of human rights and professional ethics. But the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, referenced in the task force’s announcement, opposes this initiative for many reasons. Our call for annulment of the deeply flawed PENS Report has gained broad support. Yet this new task force attempts to redefine priorities and deflect attention away from this urgent issue, asserting that “the PENS report offers unique contributions to APA policy” which need to be integrated into a “unified, comprehensive APA policy.” As such, this task force is primarily an “anti-annulment” initiative. If successful, its agenda will further enshrine PENS policies – policies that were adopted through a fundamentally unethical process and that resulted in grievous harm and the tarnishing of our profession.

Any attempt to clarify possible ambiguities in APA’s statements and resolutions bearing on torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment should be postponed until after the PENS Report has been officially annulled. Otherwise, from the outset the presumption will be that it is ethically permissible for psychologists to serve in aggressive operational psychology[1] roles, including consultation to interrogators of national security detainees. Yet a crucial question has never received broad and open discussion: Should psychologists serve in combatant and aggressive operational capacities in military/intelligence settings where our foundational “do no harm” ethical principle is subservient to military policy? The new task force states that it will not develop any new policy. Their initiative will merely delay these much needed deliberations and possible reform.

The Coalition is also concerned about the composition of the new task force. None of its five members actively supported – and at least three actively opposed – the 2008 member-initiated Referendum prohibiting psychologists from working in national security settings that violate human rights. This Referendum was overwhelmingly endorsed by 59% of voting APA members. Moreover, several members of this task force have been vehement opponents over the past several years of most attempts to change APA policies on interrogations. The three task force members from the Peace Psychology Division (Division 48) have taken this action without any discussion with the division membership, and despite the fact that the Executive Committee officially endorsed the annulment petition two months ago.

Returning to the key issue of annulment, when reports first surfaced that psychologists were aiding and even implementing U.S. programs of torture and abuse in national security settings, the APA turned its ethics process in this domain over to the military–intelligence establishment. The resulting 2005 PENS Task Force had six of nine voting members from that area, including several members who served in chains of command publicly accused of abuses at that time. The three voting members of the PENS Task Force without military ties have all subsequently renounced the report, and two of them have denounced the process as corrupt from the start. Military-intelligence advisors who analyzed the PENS process identified it as “a social legitimization process for a decision made at higher levels of the DoD.”

While stating that psychologists should not participate in abuses, the PENS Report gives the imprimatur of the APA to psychologists serving in detention and other national security operations where their activities are protected by secrecy and information is classified. The Report also reiterates the primacy of U.S. law and military regulations over professional ethics. These two assertions were all that the military and CIA needed from the PENS Task Force and PENS Report. In important ways, the remainder of the Report simply serves to obscure the importance of these two profoundly problematic conclusions.[2]

Thus far, the Coalition’s petition calling for annulment of the PENS Report has been endorsed by 33 groups and organizations – including nine within APA itself – and by over 1,800 individuals. The full list is available online at Annulment is needed in order to (1) renounce the illegitimate process that enabled the military-intelligence establishment to control our profession’s ethics, and (2) move the profession to engage in a thorough and independent review of the ethics of psychologists participating in various national security activities. For the reasons we have summarized here, we strongly believe that this new task force will stand in the way of annulment. Indeed, its formation is reminiscent of the back-room deals of the PENS process itself. We also believe that the narrow interests currently dominating the APA’s agenda in this area must no longer supersede the ethical commitments and aspirations of the association’s membership and of psychologists outside the APA. The profession’s future depends on what we do now.

We therefore encourage psychologists to reject this new task force initiative, and to communicate your opposition to APA leaders, including Board members, Council members, and division officers. At the same time, we encourage you to visit the Coalition website, to review our materials on annulment of the PENS Report and, if you have not already done so, to sign our petition (

February 23, 2012

[1] Operational psychologists, who are licensed clinical psychologists, are purportedly using psychology to further military/intelligence operations, as in interrogation support. We distinguish between traditional operational psychology roles (e.g., personnel selection) and aggressive operational psychology, where psychologists are duty-bound to put the mission first and where military regulations and orders supersede the ethical standards of their profession. Further, they often work in classified settings, which severely impedes effective ethical monitoring as they and their employer can deny ethics committees access to the information necessary to adjudicate cases.
[2] Further details about the illegitimacy of the PENS process and PENS Report are documented here:

Petition to End the Solitary Confinement Torture of Russell Maroon Shoats

Russell Maroon Shoats was a member of the Black Panther Party and a founding member of the Black Unity Council, sentenced to multiple life sentences for the 1970 murder of a Philadelphia area police officer. According to the website Free Russell Maroon Shoats, "he was on the verge of being released from solitary confinement [last year] after the staff that he interacted with on a daily basis and top officials in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ Central Office approved a change in his custody status, but the prison’s Superintendent, Louis Folino, vetoed the release at the last minute."

Shoats, who remains a committed opponent of US racism and imperialism, has been held in solitary confinement all told some 30 years, including a stint at the notorious Marion Supermax prison in Illinois.

The following is a petition that has been initiated to pressure prison authorities to remove Shoats from isolation, a form of imprisonment that is an inhumane assault on the sensorium and nervous system of the prisoner that causes irreversible brain damage and psychological damage. This punishment is politically-motivated, and must be opposed by all supporters of human rights and social change.
Sign the Petition

Russell Maroon Shoats (#AF-3855), a 68-year-old prisoner held at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Greene in southwestern Pennsylvania, has been kept in solitary confinement for more than 21 years. He has been unable to hold his children or grandchildren or interact with others in a humane setting during this time, despite not having violated prison rules in two decades. He has suffered severe psychological anguish and his physical health has been worsened by the stress of prolonged isolation.

Maroon has spent nearly 40 years within the Pennsylvania prison system, 30 of those in solitary confinement. During this time he has earned a reputation amongst prison staff and prisoners as a leader because of his consistent support for human rights inside and outside the walls. Prison officials claim that Mr. Shoats is a security threat due to past escapes and attempts, though new evidence has surfaced that his continued solitary confinement is based on secret and fraudulent evidence of a non-existent plan to takeover a prison in the 1980s. Prison officials also identified Maroon’s political associations as a basis for continuing to torture him via solitary confinement.

We are distressed and outraged that an elderly man who is nearing his 70th birthday continues to be treated in such a cruel manner based on his constitutionally-protected support for human rights and in retaliation for his expressing political opinions disfavored by the prison administration. Not having committed an infraction in more than two decades reveals that Russell Shoats is more than ready to re-enter the general prison population.

We, the undersigned, are calling on prison officials to end the solitary confinement torture of Russell Maroon Shoats by releasing him into the general population of the prison immediately.

Sign the Petition
Listen to a podcast of Mumia Abu-Jamal discussing Shoats.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

(Video) Ten Years of Guantanamo: A Discussion with Andy Worthington & Jason Leopold

Andy Worthington and Jason Leopold speaking on January 13, 2012 at UC Hastings College of the Law. Andy was on a national speaking tour to gain support for the Close Guantanamo campaign. Also briefly speaking is Nadia Kay, from the UC Hastings chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which along with a number of other organizations, including World Can't Wait, hosted the event.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

JSOC Black Site Revealed, Disappearing of Iraqi Prisoners by US/Coalition Forces

Ian Cobain at the UK Guardian has a very important story posted that should get the attention of U.S. citizens. A somewhat complicated article, "RAF helicopter death revelation leads to secret Iraq detention camp" tells the tale of how an investigation into the death of an Iraqi prisoner led to a much larger tale of how coalition forces in the Iraq war hid prisoners from the International Red Cross, killed at least some of them, then hid that fact.

The prisoner were taken to a hitherto unknown base run by Joint Special Operations Forces Task Force 20 (later known better as Task Force 121, when they moved their operations, including heinous torture, to Camp Nama by the Baghdad airport). The black site, codenamed H1, was at an airfield next to a pumping site in the desert wasteland of the western Iraq desert.

The prisoners were captured by forces from a number of countries, but the "official" captures were turned over to the US forces, to protect the other nations' militaries, who knew they were vulnerable to war crimes charges for what they were doing.

The tale of how the reporters sniffed out this story is incredible in and of itself, taking many twists and turns, including the discovery that the identity of the murdered prisoner was for a very long time misidentified by UK personnel. The entire matter is now supposedly under military investigation.

Snippets from the Guardian article:
The holding facility at H1 was not inspected by the Red Cross. Moreover, its existence was not disclosed to Lieutenant Colonel Mercer, the UK's most senior army lawyer in Iraq at the time. Mercer says he was "extremely surprised" to learn of its existence.

He said: "This matter potentially raises very serious questions. Strenuous efforts were made at all times to ensure that all prisoners were accorded the full protection of the Geneva conventions and vigorous objections would have been raised if there was the slightest possibility of a breach of the conventions. It appears from the information disclosed that some prisoner operations were being conducted, deliberately or otherwise, outside of the chain of command."

The holding facility appears effectively to have been a secret prison – a so-called black site. It is entirely possible, according to international law experts, that taking prisoners to H1 could amount to "unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement", and that the prisoners were subjected to "enforced disappearances", both of which are war crimes under the Rome statute of the international criminal court.

One former RAF Regiment trooper who was based at H1 for several months has described being involved in a number of similar missions in which prisoners were collected from coalition special forces. This always happened "under total darkness", he says. On arrival at H1, the prisoners were handed on to people whom he describes as "other authorities".

Could this explain why the police investigation into the alleged killing of Tariq Sabri ended with some of the most basic facts – such as his name and the the cause of his death – remaining unknown?

According one well-placed source with knowledge of Operation Raker, the RAF police investigation into the death, there were some at the MoD who were concerned about the possible consequences of a more thorough inquiry: people who were filled with dread at the thought that it could lead to accusations that British forces and others had been involved in crimes against humanity.

CCR Submits Torture Declaration to Spanish Court Investigating Guantanamo

The following is a press release from Center for Constitutional Rights:
Rights Group Submits Declaration Detailing Torture to Spanish Court after Judge Issues Order to Proceed with Guantánamo Torture Investigation

Document Highlights Treatment of Acknowledged Torture Victim Mohammed al Qahtani, Helps Set Stage for Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials

February 8, 2012, New York and Madrid – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) submitted a declaration to a Spanish court detailing the torture of Mohammed al Qahtani, who has been detained without charge or trial at Guantánamo since 2002. The submission follows Spanish Investigating Judge Pablo Ruz Gutierrez’s recent order to proceed with the probe into the U.S. torture program.

Mr. al Qahtani was the victim of the “First Special Interrogation Plan,” a regime of aggressive interrogation techniques amounting to torture personally authorized by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Mr. al Qahtani is the only prisoner held at Guantánamo Bay the U.S. has officially admitted to torturing. Mr. al Qahtani’s treatment, much of which is described in detail in the declaration through his own words, includes 48 days of sleep deprivation, 20-hour interrogations, forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, physical force, prolonged stress positions, and prolonged sensory overstimulation. In addition, the document details the effects of the interrogation, which included Mr. al Qahtani’s severe emotional distress, inability to control his bladder, and visual and auditory hallucinations. Time Magazine obtained and published a detailed log of his interrogations in 2005 [PDF link to published log].

Katherine Gallagher, a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitution Rights, said, “This declaration details the severe psychological and physical trauma suffered by Mr. al Qahtani as a result of the brutal treatment he was subjected to at Guantánamo through techniques that are in direct violation of the Geneva Convention and the Convention Against Torture. That the high-level U.S. officials alleged to be responsible for this criminal conduct, including Donald Rumsfeld and Geoffrey Miller, continue to enjoy impunity domestically is a stain on the U.S. system of justice. We hope that this declaration will provide valuable evidence for use in holding these officials accountable in Spain, a venue that is willing to investigate torture.”

The declaration, compiled from Mr. al Qahtani’s own accounts by his attorney at CCR, provides a thorough description of his treatment in response to Judge Ruz’s request for more information about the program. Former CCR attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez conducted client interviews with Mr. al Qahtani during 27 trips to Guantánamo between December 2005 and November 2009. The declaration identifies Major General Geoffrey Miller as responsible for both authorizing and implementing the interrogation techniques used on Mr. al Qahtani that led to his torture. Miller was the commander of Guantánamo and was later implicated in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal after being appointed Deputy Commanding General of Detention Operations in Iraq.

Wolfgang Kaleck, Secretary General of the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), which joined CCR in providing a dossier outlining Geoffrey Miller’s liability for torture to Judge Ruz last year, said, “The way the United States has dealt with established torture claims has been appalling. Those claims are now in the hands of the Spanish judiciary. Today’s submission before Judge Ruz greatly adds to the evidence previously presented against Geoffrey Miller and we hope the judge will act on it.”

The case, which Judge Ruz inherited from Judge Baltasar Garzón, has been ongoing since April 2009, when Garzón opened a preliminary investigation into what he termed “an authorized and systematic plan of torture and ill-treatment on persons deprived of their freedom without any charge and without the basic rights of any detainee…” The investigation stemmed from a previous court case in which four former Guantánamo detainees at the center of the case were found to have been tortured. That investigation concluded that facts of the case related to violations under the Spanish Penal Code, the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Organic Law of the Judicial Power (article 23.4.) Judge Ruz’s recent order was precipitated, in part, by a decision to proceed with the investigation after the U.S. and U.K. governments failed to respond to letters rogatory issued by the Spanish court that requested information about any domestic investigations in those countries.

Details about the ongoing case in Spain and the full declaration are available here and here, respectively. Information about on-going litigation in U.S. courts related to Mr. al Qahtani is available here:

CCR filed cases against Donald Rumsfeld in Germany and France, and released a Bush Torture Indictment, under the Convention Against Torture, ready to be tailored to the specific laws of any of the 147 signatory countries to the Convention Against Torture where he may travel. CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo in the U.S. for the last 10 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts.
For more information contact CONTACT: Jen Nessel,, or David Lerner, Riptide Communications,

Friday, February 3, 2012

Urgent Appeal on Fate of Former Guantanamo Detainee

Andy Worthington, who has looked deeper into the conditions and fate of the Guantanamo prisoners than any other reporter working today, has followed up on the case of Abdul Aziz Naji, the Algerian former prisoner at Guantanamo who was sentenced to three years in prison on unsubstantiated charges of having formerly, i.e., prior to the eight years he was imprisoned without charges at Guantanamo, belonged to an "extremist group."

I wrote the other day about the case and Naji's frame-up utilizing evidence from tortured prisoners. I also speculated that the Algerian government, whose intelligence agency went to Guantanamo at one point to interrogate Naji, may be acting at the behest of the U.S. government because 1) Naji is the first Algerian prisoner from Guantanamo in Algerian custody actually sentenced to prison; and 2) Naji has been quite vocal about the torture he endured, about the use of drugs on prisoners, and the bargaining by U.S. interrogators with Guantanamo prisoners over possible grants of political asylum if the prisoners would spy for the United States. This can't have endeared Naji to the U.S. government.

Worthington writes about the supposed guarantees of the Algerians regarding treatment of returning prisoners:
In assessing whether or not it was safe for Algerians to be repatriated from Guantánamo, the US government was required to weigh Algeria’s established reputation for using torture against the “diplomatic assurances” agreed between Washington and Algiers, whereby, as an Obama administration official told the Washington Post at the time of Naji’s repatriation, the Algerian government had promised that prisoners returned from Guantánamo “would not be mistreated.” The US official added, “We take some care in evaluating countries for repatriation. In the case of Algeria, there is an established track record and we have given that a lot of weight. The Algerians have handled this pretty well: You don’t have recidivism and you don’t have torture.”

According to research I undertook after Abdul Aziz Naji’s enforced repatriation, by speaking to the men’s attorneys, the US government was able to justify its claims because there had been no recorded incidents of torture amongst the ten Algerians previously released from Guantánamo. Although they were held incommunicado for 12 days by the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS), as permitted under Algerian law, none of them reported being physically abused. In addition, although they all faced dubious trials after their return — generally about 15 months after their repatriation — and although they also suffered prejudice because of the perceived “taint” of Guantánamo, they had not been convicted on trumped-up charges, and had been released after their trials.

I cannot guarantee that I was able to ascertain the exact details of what happened to each of the ten men, but until two weeks ago the most troubling information from Algeria relating to the Guantánamo prisoners appeared to be the 20-year sentence delivered in absentia against Ahmed Belbacha, one of the four Algerians cleared for release but still held, on trumped-up charges of “membership of a terrorist group active overseas.” As far as his lawyers can ascertain, this sentence only came about because Belbacha had been vocal in his opposition to being repatriated, based on his fears about the government, and about the Islamists who had prompted him to flee the country in the first place when they threatened him while he was working for a government-owned oil company.

On January 16, however, any comfort to be gleaned from the Algerian government’s refusal to imprison those returned from Guantánamo for the other Algerians who do not wish to be repatriated — and who, by my reckoning, are Nabil Hadjarab (PDF), Motai Saib and Djamel Ameziane (PDF), who were all cleared for release by military review boards under the Bush administration — dissipated when, as AFP reported, Abdul Aziz Naji received a three-year sentence “for membership of an extremist group active overseas.”
Andy also quotes the text of an appeal by the British group Cageprisoners, to the Algerian government to demand Abdul Naji's immediate release.

In the spirit of advocacy on Naji's case, I am reposting the Cageprisoners' appeal here:
Abdel Aziz Nadji is a 37 years old man born in Batna, Algeria. In 2001, he travelled to Makkah and accomplished the Muslim pilgrimage. He then worked briefly for a humanitarian organisation providing emergency assistance for the needy inhabitants of Kashmir. During his charitable work, Abdel Aziz Nadji stepped over a landmine which caused him to lose his lower right leg. He was transported to Lahore where he was treated for several months. He was then directed towards an Algerian man, Mustafa Hamlili who had been living in Peshawar with his wife for 15 years. Abdel Aziz was told he may be able to marry there. In May 2002, he was arrested with his host during a raid led by the Pakistani police. He was not given any reason to justify his arrest and was told that he would be released. Nevertheless, he was handed over to the American forces and taken to Guantanamo.

There he was he was subjected to torture and held without any charge or trial for 8 years.

Abdel Aziz then became eligible for release. However, he fought against his return to Algeria where he rightfully feared being tortured or killed. Nevertheless, he lost his case before the Supreme Court and he was forcefully deported to Algeria by the Obama administration which deemed sufficient the Algerian “diplomatic assurances” to treat him humanely. On 18 July 2010, he was handed over to the Algerian authorities despite his request for political asylum being pendant before Swiss courts. Upon his arrival, he was taken in secret detention. He eventually reappeared and was set free. However, unspecified charges were laid against him by the Algerian authorities.

He returned to his family and tried start a new life. However, he was deprived of any identity documents and suffered from depression, anxiety and other symptoms consistent with post traumatic stress disorder due to his treatment in American custody. Moreover, he was in need of medical attention due to his amputation after his prosthetic leg was damaged by American soldiers who beat him up in Bagram and Guantanamo. Abdel Aziz was also under “judicial supervision” and had to sign a register every week at the local police station.

On 16 January 2012, the police suddenly arrested him and took him directly to the court. On the same day, he was sentenced to three years of prison, accused of belonging to a terrorist group operating overseas. He was immediately transferred to El Harrash prison in Algiers, known for human rights abuses.

His lawyer has eight days to appeal the decision.

While Egypt has put an end to the unfair re- incarceration of Adel Al-Gazzar, while Tunisian former Guantanamo detainees have been able to return safely to their homeland and while the new authorities have promised to do more in order to secure the release of the five Tunisians still held at Guantanamo Bay, Algeria is jailing a man who has already spent 8 years in Guantanamo Bay without charge or trial. It does so on obscure accusations and apparently expeditiously.

Abdel Aziz has appealed the decision and refuses any food.

CagePrisoners urges all its supporters to contact the Algerian Ministry of Justice to demand Abdel Aziz’s immediate release.

Message to the Algerian Minister of Justice

Monsieur le Ministre,

A la suite d’informations reçues de l’organisation britannique de défense des droits de l’Homme CagePrisoners, je vous exprime ma vive préoccupation concernant l’affaire d’Abdel Aziz Naji arrété le 16 janvier 2012 et condamné le jour même à trois ans de prison, accusé d’appartenir à un groupe terroriste opérant à l’étranger. Il apparaît que cette condamnation n’a pas été prononcée dans des conditions compatibles avec celle d’un procès équitable.

Alors que l’Egypte a mis fin à la détention injuste d’Adel Al-Gazzar, alors que des anciens détenus tunisiens de Guantanmo ont pu regagner leur pays d’origine en toute sécurité et alors que les nouvelles autorités tunisiennes se sont engagées à tout faire pour obtenir la libération de ses cinq citoyens toujours détenus sur l’île cubaine, l’Algérie incarcère un homme qui a déjà passé 8 ans à Guantanamo sans procès, et ce sur la base de vagues accusations et, semble t-il, de manière expéditive.

Je vous demande donc la libération immédiate d’Abdel Aziz Naji.

Je vous prie de recevoir l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.

Ministry of Justice (Algeria)
Address: Ministère de la Justice 8, Place Bir Hakem, El-Biar, Alger



The following is a rough translation of the French text:
Mr. Minister,

Following information received from the British organization for the defense of human rights Cageprisoners, I express my deep concern regarding the case of Abdel Aziz Naji, arrested Jan. 16, 2012 and sentenced the same day to three years in prison, accused of belonging to a terrorist group operating abroad. It appears that this sentence was not pronounced under conditions compatible with that of a fair trial.

While Egypt has ended the unjust detention of Adel al-Gazzar [see here], while Tunisian Guantanamo former detainees have returned to their home country safely, and while the new Tunisian authorities are committed to all do to secure the release of its five citizens still detained on the island of Cuba, Algeria incarcerates a man who has spent eight years at Guantanamo without trial, and on the basis of vague accusations, and it seems, in an expeditious manner.

I ask you for the immediate release of Abdel Aziz Naji.

Please accept the expression of my highest consideration.

Search for Info/News on Torture

Google Custom Search
Add to Google ">View blog reactions

This site can contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.