Algerian police investigate allegations of sexual abuse by teenage protester | Middle East News

The 15-year-old was arrested in Algiers during a demonstration as part of the pro-democracy movement Hirak.

Algerian police said on Sunday they had opened an investigation after social media videos claiming officers sexually assaulted a teenager arrested during anti-government protests sparked fury.

The 15-year-old was arrested on Saturday in Algiers, the capital of the North African country, where a long-standing pro-democracy protest movement known as Hirak regularly organizes demonstrations demanding political change.

“After the broadcast of a video on social networks in which the authors claim that a minor was mistreated in a police station in Algiers, the police … informed the prosecution, which immediately ordered an investigation” , indicates a police statement.

One video reportedly showed the boy sobbing as he left the police station, while in another the boy allegedly said he was “mistreated” by the police and alleged that they “tried to rape him” .

Amnesty International has called for an “independent” investigation into these allegations.

Last month, the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) renewed its call for an investigation after allegations of Hirak activists were tortured in detention.

During the February trial of Hirak activist Walid Nekkiche, the 25-year-old student said he was “sexually, physically and verbally assaulted” by members of the security services while in police custody.

The public prosecutor subsequently announced an investigation.

The protests mark a resumption of the street protest movement calling for the departure of the former political establishment and for the military to quit politics, which suspended its weekly marches a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The movement mobilized for the first time in February 2019 and within a few weeks forced then President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to abandon his candidacy for a fifth term and to resign.

The protests continued every week until the global coronavirus pandemic reached Algeria a year ago.

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