- Title: ALGERIA: Algeria bars human rights group of "mothers of the disappeared" meeting.
- Date: 8th February 2007
- Summary: VARIOUS OF MOTHERS OF DISAPPEARED STANDING AND HOLDING PICTURES UP OF THEIR MISSING SONS
- Embargoed: 23rd February 2007 12:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVACBCEEWDW82L9JFKGM7ZK23L39
- Story Text: A group of human rights groups who had been trying to promote reconciliation have been barred from meeting by Algerian police. The police said the activist had no permission to gather. Algerian police barred on Wednesday (February 7) a meeting of five human rights groups trying to promote reconciliation after the country's years of violence, saying the activists had no permission to gather.
The Algerian groups, which had sought to hold the gathering despite failing to obtain a permit for the planned two-date debate, denounced the police action as undemocratic.
Under a state of emergency that has been in force since 1992, public gatherings of all kinds need official permission.
Rights groups often meet to discuss reconciliation at the Algerian branch offices of foreign think-tanks such as Germany's Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, but this was the first time in years the groups had sought to debate the issue in a public place.
Many Algerians are still traumatised by the conflict, in which 200,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in clashes between the authorities and Islamist insurgents.
The insurgency began in 1992 after the authorities cancelled legislative elections that a radical Islamist party was poised to win. The authorities had feared an Iranian-style revolution.
Under an amnesty implemented in February 2006, the security services won blanket immunity from prosecution while more than 2,000 former Islamist fighters walked free from prison.
The five groups included one representing families who lost loved ones in attacks by armed Islamist groups and another representing those whose relatives disappeared after being arrested by security forces.
The government estimates the disappeared number 7,000, but independent human rights say the number is much higher.
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