Algeria will complete the release this week under an amnesty of 2,629 Islamists jailed during civil strife that lasted more than a decade, the justice Minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.The amnesty was apparently inspired by the successful South African amnesty process put in place at the end of the white-apartheid era, and has won praise from the president of the European Parliament, Josip Borrell. Speaking to the Algerian parliament, he called the plan "an important step for the North African country to restore social order." Says the BBC:
The amnesty also offers a pardon to militants on the run who surrender, as long as they are not responsible for massacres, rapes or bombings of public places... The amnesty is an attempt to heal Algeria's wounds after years of a brutal and bloody conflict believed to have claimed more than 150,000 livesAmongst those released and pardoned is hardline nutcase and praiser of Iraqi insurgents Ali Belhadj, the deputy leader of Zaoui's political organisation the Islamic Salvation Front, which raises the question of why Zaoui can't now go home.
So why can't he? If he's no threat here and not in danger there, why can't he get off the taxpayers' tab? He may not want to go home, but perhaps one or two liberals might want to meet some of his bills and perhaps sponsor him to stay.
And, speaking of those sucking off the taxpayers' tit, how about Zaoui's lawyer Deborah Manning -- what does she say? Predictably, legal-aid lawyer Deborah Manning (recipient already of a mllion or so of taxpayers' money on Zaoui's behalf) says he can't go. 'He can't!' she says.
"There has been an amnesty given, but it's only to people who will go back to Algeria and confess to their crimes," Ms Manning said." Amnesty International and other groups in the United Nations have condemned the amnesty because it's giving impunity to the security services and stopping people from talking about the troubles in Algeria."Condemned the amnesty? Well, Amnesty have "called the law's impunity measures a major setback for human rights in Algeria." But they haven't suggested there's any danger to those being granted an amnesty. And the amnesty applies "only to people who go back to Algeria"? Who's she kidding? According to the BBC story quoted above, the amnesty "offers a pardon to militants on the run who surrender, as long as they are not responsible for massacres, rapes or bombings of public places."
I assume that applies to Zaoui, so what's the problem Deborah?
LINKS: Algeria to free 2,629 Islamists under amnesty - Reuters
Algeria frees Islamic militants - BBC News
Zaoui should return home, says NZ First - NZ Herald
Algeria: New Amnesty Law Will Ensure Atrocities Go Unpunished - Ammesty International
TAGS: Politics-World, Politics-NZ