The former Algerian soldier and activist Mohamed Benhlima has been sentenced to death in his country, after being denied international protection in Spain and being deported at the end of March. The news has been announced by Behnlima’s mother and confirmed by the Legal Network of Lawyers and by this newspaper.
The imprisoned activist speaks from the Valencia CIE: “If they deport me to Algeria I will be in a military prison under torture”
In 2019 Behnlima published a series of videos on networks that exposed corruption among senior Army officials. He also participated in the Hirak protest movement calling for a reform of the political system. At that time he was informed that his name was on a wanted military list and he fled to Spain, where he applied for asylum.
The Ministry of the Interior refused to grant him international asylum in the re-examination of the application, as confirmed at the time by his legal team. As he already happened with his compatriot Mohamed Abdellah, deported from the Barcelona CIE, the activist and ex-soldier, was handed over to the Algerian authorities. Amnesty International and the CIEs campaign did not consider that there was a risk that Benhlima would be tortured in a military prison.
“More than a month ago, the Spanish authorities delivered the asylum seeker, Mohamed Benhalima, to Algeria in an expeditious manner and without respecting the expulsion procedure. We are going to do everything we can (even a little bit more) to end these political and policing practices. We will demand all the responsibilities, including criminal ones, that correspond to the Police and the Ministry of the Interior, ”says the Legal Network of Lawyers on its Twitter profile.
A ‘retracting’ video
Two days before his expulsion from Spain, the young man sent his relatives and the members of the ‘CIEs No’ campaign, who were accompanying the activist, a video recorded at the Foreigners Internment Center (CIE) in Valencia, in which It said: “If I appear on Algerian television making false statements as if I were a terrorist, know that it has been beyond my reach and that I have suffered the worst torture, both moral and physical, in the centers of the Algerian secret and information services.” The video ‘recanting’ was broadcast on March 28 by the Algerian authorities on the private television Ennahar TV.
“He has been forced to completely retract his positions on the work he has done these last three years in the Hirak movement,” a member of his international legal team said at the time.