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Algerian NGOs create committee to protect prisoners after rape claims

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Rights groups in Algeria have created a new committee to fight against abuse of prisoners after claims this month by 25-year-old protester Walid Nekkiche he was beaten and raped by security forces while in custody.

The committee says it will fight against what they call out as torture and inhuman prison conditions.

“What shocked us is that when Walid Nekkiche is abused, we are all abused, as a people, as civil society, as activists, as citizens, etc. And that, in my opinion, should not go unpunished,” said Algerian journalist Zoheir Aberkane.

The committee is made up of the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD), the National Coordination of Algerian Academics for Change and the Collective of lawyers for the defense of prisoner of conscience.

The CNLD estimates more than 70 people are currently imprisoned in Algeria in connection with the Hirak protests or for individual freedoms.

“If today we ask for a trial, it is a fair trial: the torturers have not been directly condemned, we have filed a complaint, we have told the justice system to intervene according to domestic and international laws,” said Algerian lawyer Nacéra Hadouche.

Nekkiche, a student, was arrested in November during a march by students of the anti-government Hirak protest movement.

The second anniversary of the Hirak is on February 22.

The movement forced the resignation of President Bouteflika but they still protest against the government to this day.