In Feburary 2007 The Law Society of Upper Canada wrote to Algerian
authorities expressing deep concerns over the situation of human rights lawyers
Amine Sidhoum Abderramane and Hassiba Boumerdesi.
On November 21, 2006, reports indicated that two human rights lawyers, Amine
Sidhoum Abderramane and Hassiba Boumerdesi, faced imprisonment after being
charged with what appeared to be charges made in an attempt to intimidate and
deter the lawyers from carrying out their human rights work. Both lawyers were
members of the SOS Disappeared, an Algerian group that represents the families
of the more than 7,000 people who disappeared during the 1990s in the armed
struggle between the government and Islamic groups in Algeria.
Amine Sidhoum Abderramane was accused of "bringing unauthorised objects into
a detention facility" because he allegedly provided his business cards to a
detained client. He also faced defamation charges in a separate case because he
publicly criticized the fact that his client was detained for two and a half
years without a trial. In September 2006, he was charged with "bringing the
judiciary into disrepute". He faced between three and five years prison and
fines of between 2,500 and 5,000 euros, which is approximately between $4,000
and $8,000 Canadian.
Hassiba Boumerdes was accused of giving a client in detention the minutes of
his court hearing without first getting authorization. She was charged with
"bringing unauthorised objects into a detention facility."