Press Release

IACHR Condemns Forced Transfer of Djamel Ameziane from Guantanamo to Algeria

December 19, 2013

Washington, D.C.-The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the forced transfer of Djamel Ameziane from the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay to Algeria. The United States carried out this transfer against Djamel Ameziane's will and in violation of international human rights law.

According to information the Commission has received, Djamel Ameziane was transferred from Guantánamo to Algeria on December 5, 2013, and he was reportedly imprisoned in secret by the Algerian authorities from the time he arrived in the country until December 16, 2013. The information provided to the IACHR by Djamel Ameziane's representatives indicates that he was awaiting a reply from the government of Canada to his request to resettle in that country. They also indicated that in 2010 Luxembourg had offered to receive him, and that more recently other countries had also extended offers for Djamel Ameziane to settle in their respective territories.

The forced transfer of Djamel Ameziane to Algeria is in violation of the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits transfers and deportations of individuals to countries where they may run the risk of being tortured. Moreover, with this transfer the United States disregarded precautionary measures 211/08 and 259/02 of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

On August 20, 2008, the IACHR granted precautionary measures whereby it asked the United States to immediately take all measures necessary to ensure that Djamel Ameziane was not subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment while in its custody and to make certain that he was not deported to any country where he might be subjected to torture or other mistreatment. In addition, on July 23, 2013, the Inter-American Commission approved an extension of scope of precautionary measure 259/02-originally granted in 2002 for all detainees at the Guantánamo Naval Base-to require the closure of the detention facility. By means of the decision of July 23, 2013, the Commission requested that the government of the United States proceed to immediately close the detention facilities at the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay; transfer the detainees to their home country or third countries in observance of human rights guarantees, principally the obligation of non-refoulement; expedite the release of those detainees already cleared for transfer; and house any detainees subject to trial in appropriate conditions and accord them applicable due process rights.

The Inter-American Commission encourages the United States to continue to expedite the release and transfer of those detainees whom the government itself has certified for release, always with respect for the principle of non-refoulement, and to take concrete and decisive steps toward closing the Guantánamo Naval Base once and for all.

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 a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 103/13