Algeria sentenced the Algerian activist and former military officer Mohamed Benhlima to death. At the end of March, Benhilima was denied international protection in Spain and was deported to his country of origin. Now, more than a month and a half later, the government of Abdelmadjid Tebboune sentenced this activist to death.
This was confirmed to this newspaper by the human rights organization, Amnesty International. It was also confirmed, through his social networks, by his lawyer in Spain, Eduardo Gómez Cuadrado. Multiple international organizations called for Benhlima's handover to the Algerian authorities to be annulled, as he was at risk of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.
Because of this and because of his participation in the protests, his name appeared on a search and capture list. It is then that he decided to flee to Spain, where he requested asylum. Despite being persecuted, the asylum request was denied, according to his legal team, and, after being arrested in Zaragoza for breaking the immigration law, he was transferred to the Zapadores Foreigners Internment Center in Valencia.
As Amnesty International reminds, following international law, no one should be returned to a country where they are at risk of suffering torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
His expulsion coincides with the diplomatic crisis between Algiers and Madrid, which began with the call for consultations with the Algerian ambassador in Madrid. This call was motivated by the historical change in Spain's position on Western Sahara, which accepted the autonomy of Morocco over the former Spanish colony. "The Algerian authorities, surprised by this sharp turn in the position of the former administering power of Western Sahara, have decided to summon their ambassador in Madrid for consultations with immediate effect," the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published in a statement.