Cablegate: Ahmed Belbacha - #22 in Geneva 2007 Communications Log
R 131505Z AUG 07
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4938
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
UNCLAS GENEVA 001948
STATE FOR IO-RHS, DRL-MLA, L-HRR
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM UNHRC
SUBJECT: Ahmed Belbacha - #22 in Geneva 2007 Communications Log
1. Mission has received a communication from the Special Rapporteur
on the question of torture, Manfred Nowak, regarding Ahmed Belbacha
who is detained at Guantanamo without charge or trial. This
communication has been sent via e-mail to IO-RHS. It is #22 on the
Geneva 2007 Communications Log.
2. Begin text of letter:
I have the honour to address you in my capacity as Special
Rapporteur on the question of torture pursuant to Commission on
Human Rights resolution 2005/39, to General Assembly resolution
60/251 and to Human Rights Council decision 1/102.
In this connection, I would like to draw the attention of your
Government to information I have received regarding Mr. Ahmed
Belbacha, former resident of the United Kingdom of Algerian origin
who has spent more than 5 years in detention at Guantanamo without
charge or trial. According to the information received,
The United States authorities intended to transfer Mr. Belbacha from
the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay to his native Algeria on
6 August 2007, but the transfer has been delayed for an unspecified
Ahmed Belbacha previously lived in the UK, applying for asylum on
the grounds that in Algeria he faced persecution by both the
government and an aimed opposition group.
Taking into consideration that Mr. Belbacha might be believed to
possess information about terrorist activities in Algeria or abroad,
concern is expressed for his physical and mental integrity, should
he be forcibly returned to Algeria.
Without in any way implying any conclusion as to the facts of the
case, I should like to appeal to your Excellency's Government to
seek clarification of the circumstances regarding the case of Mr.
Belbacha. I would like to stress that each Government has the
obligation to protect the right to physical and mental integrity of
all persons. This right is set forth inter alia in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
I would also like to draw your Government's attention to article 3
of the Convention against Torture, which provides that no State
party shall expel, return (refouler), or extradite a person to
another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that
the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture. In this
regard, paragraph 9 of General Comment 20 on the prohibition of
torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment, in which the Human Rights Committee states mat State
parties "must not expose individuals to the danger of torture or
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment upon return to
another country by way of extradition, expulsion or refoulement."
Furthermore, paragraph 5 of the Resolution 2005/39 of the Commission
on Human Rights urges States not to expel, return (refouler),
extradite or in any other way transfer a person to another State
where there are substantial grounds for believing that the person
would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
In the event that your investigations support or suggest the above
allegations to be correct, I urge your Government to take all
necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of Mr.
Belbacha are respected.
In view of the urgency of the matter, I would appreciate a response
on the initial steps taken by your Excellency's Government to
safeguard the rights of Mr. Belbacha in compliance with the above
Moreover, it is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me
by the Commission on Human Rights and extended by the Human Rights
Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to my attention. Since
I am expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council,
I would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on
the following matters:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case accurate?
2. Has a complaint been lodged by or on behalf of Mr. Belbacha?
3. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of
any investigation, and judicial or other inquiries carried out in
relation to this case. If no inquiries have taken place, or if they
have been inconclusive, please explain why.
I undertake to ensure that your Government's response to each of
these questions is accurately reflected in the report I will submit
to the Human Rights Council for its consideration.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest
Special Rapporteur on the question of torture
End of text.