Algiers – The family of an Algerian activist who died in prison last month is suing the state for manslaughter and seeking a billion euros in compensation, lawyers said on Wednesday.
Hakim Debbazi, 55, was arrested in February after publishing Facebook posts in support of Hirak, a pro-democracy movement.
He died in prison on April 24, according to the Algerian rights group LADDH.
On Wednesday, lawyer Heloise Sadeg and Debbazi’s aunt, launched legal proceedings against several officials and the Algerian state, demanding a billion euros in compensation for his death in “troubled circumstances” in Kolea prison near Algiers.
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“To date, the Algerian Ministry of Justice has still not given an explanation or carried out an autopsy to determine the cause of the death of the political prisoner,” the family’s legal team said in a statement.
The statement did not give any indication as to the possible cause of death.
Sadeg considers the prison’s director, the prison service’s chief, the investigating judge in Debbazi’s case, the justice minister and the Algerian state all “responsible for this national drama which moved the whole of Algeria in the middle of Ramadan,” said Tarek Mektoub, another member of the legal team.
The complaint also accuses them of “failing to help a person in danger”.
Amnesty International has called on authorities to allow an independent investigation into Debbazi’s death.
The CNLD prisoners’ support group says more than 260 people are behind bars in Algeria in relation to the Hirak protest movement or rights campaigning.
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Picture: Facebook/ Human rights defender Salah Dabouz
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