Indigenous woman human rights defender arrested and detained in Algeria
On 24 August 2021, Indigenous Peoples human rights defender Kamira Nait Sid was abducted in the town of Draa-Ben-Khedda in northern Algeria by unidentified men and detained in an unknown location for seven days. After several days of her family, friends and colleagues not being able to contact or locate her Algerian security forces confirmed she was in police custody.
On 1 September, Kamira and her lawyers were presented at the Sidi M’Hamed Court in Algiers where eight charges were brought against her with penalties that range from 10 years to life imprisonment. Her charges include: “membership and participation in a terrorist organisatoin”, “incitement and apology for subversive acts and terrorism” and “crime using information and communication technologies”.
Her lawyers have appealed the charges calling them “unfounded” and her detention as “arbitrary” in an effort to grant her provisional release. Their efforts have yet to be successful. Kamira is now being held in pre-trial detention at Kolea Prison, which can last up to four months and be extended five more times.
Kamira is co-president of the Amazigh World Congress, an international NGO that promotes and protects Amazigh rights, and is a well-known Indigenous rights defender and activist in her hometown and in Algeria, as well as internationally, particularly in the Indigenous movement.
On 29 August 2021, Kamira’s sister Zina Nait Sid was also arrested by security forces without a warrant and was released the following day. The family believes her arrest was linked to Kamira’s Indigenous human rights work.
According to the Amazigh World Congress, Algerian judges have carried out abuses of power with pre-trial detentions as reported by the National Consultative Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (CNCPPDH).
Kamira, over the years, has been the victim of harassment by authorities, arrested and detained on several occasions for short periods and is often searched and interrogated when traveling abroad from the airport in Algiers.