U.S. move to repatriate Guantánamo detainees to Algeria draws U.N. criticism
By Carol Rosenberg
Two top United Nations officials said Tuesday they were concerned about the welfare of a Guantánamo captive whom the U.S. repatriated to Algeria last week after a decade in the detention center in southeast Cuba.
In a joint statement issued from Geneva, the U.N. Special Rapporteurs on torture, and on human rights and counterterrorism, Juan E. Méndez and Ben Emmerson, respectively, warned that former detainee Djamel Ameziane, 46, may be at risk after his involuntary transfer from Guantánamo Bay to Algeria.
“We are deeply concerned that the life of Mr. Ameziane could be in danger in Algeria,” they said.
The United States has said it was assured by Algerian authorities that Ameziane and another detainee, Belkacem Bensayah, 51, would be treated humanely. They were returned Wednesday to what attorneys for other released Guantánamo prisoners described as up to 12 days of questioning incommunicado.
In Washington, Ian Moss of the State Department’s office for Guantánamo closure said Tuesday that the U.S. “is satisfied that the Algerian government will continue to abide by lawful procedures and uphold its humane treatment obligations under domestic and international law in managing the return of Mr. Ameziane and Mr. Bensayah.” [yes, emphasis mine]