Algeria: UN Rapporteur Frank La Rue urges Algerian Government to probe killing of political activist

UN News Centre

The independent United Nations expert on the right to freedom of opinion and expression today called on the Algerian Government to investigate the killing of a political activist he had met on a recent official visit to the North African nation and to bring those responsible to justice.

Ahmed Kerroumi reportedly disappeared on 19 April and his body was found in his office four days later. He was a professor at the University of Oran, and member of the opposition party Democratic and Social Movement and the Oran section of the National Coordination for Change and Democracy.

“His killing is tragic and absolutely unacceptable,” said UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue. “According to reports I received, Mr. Kerroumi had several head injuries, which leads me to believe that this was an arbitrary deprivation of life.”

Mr. Kerroumi was one of the civil society representatives Mr. La Rue met with during his official visit to Algeria from 10 to 17 April.

“I insisted on absolute freedom to meet with whomever I considered necessary and requested full protection from the State for all those that met with me during my visit, and especially after the conclusion of the mission,” Mr. La Rue stated in a news release, adding that he was “deeply shocked” about this incident.

He called on the Government to conduct a detailed and independent investigation into the killing to bring those responsible to justice.

“Such action, coupled with a public condemnation by the Government, is indispensable to ensure that this horrendous event will not have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the whole country,” noted the expert, who reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

27 April 2011