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Viewing cable 07ALGIERS652, ALGERIANS OFFER NEARLY ALL ASSURANCES NEEDED FOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ALGIERS652 2007-05-13 09:09 2010-12-03 21:09 SECRET Embassy Algiers
VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAS #0652/01 1330941
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 130941Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3595
INFO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
S E C R E T ALGIERS 000652 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/11/2017 
TAGS: PREL PTER PINR KAWC PHUM AG
SUBJECT: ALGERIANS OFFER NEARLY ALL ASSURANCES NEEDED FOR 
RETURN OF GTMO DETAINEES 

REF: 2005 ALGIERS 2155 

Classified By: Ambassador Robert S. Ford, reasons 1.4 (b,d) 

1. (S) SUMMARY: In April 21-22 discussions led on the 
Algerian side by Counselor to the President for 
Counterterrorism Issues Kamel Rezag Bara, the government of 
Algeria gave oral assurances to S/WCI Ambassador Williamson 
and an interagency delegation to establish the terms for the 
transfer of Algerian detainees from the U.S. Naval Base at 
Guantanamo to Algeria. A working group consisting of members 
of both delegations encapsulated these oral assurances in 
written minutes of the meetings, which Williamson and Rezag 
Bara initialed at the end of the two-day dialogue. The 
meetings and their output produced sufficient assurances to 
permit the repatriation of the seven Algerian detainees 
scheduled for transfer, except with respect to ensuring that 
these individuals would not pose a security risk to the U.S. 
or international community. The Algerian delegation 
indicated that it took seriously its obligations, but that 
Algerian security services balked at providing such 
guarantees in the written meeting minutes. 

2. (S) SUMMARY (CONT'D): Ambassador Williamson explained to 
Rezag Bara that we sought maximum effort from the security 
services, understanding that there could be no solid 
guarantees. Nonetheless, Rezag Bara said the security 
assurances in writing sought by the U.S. on Algerian 
responsibility for transferred detainees and potential travel 
restrictions after their repatriation could not be given 
without consulting the highest levels of the Algerian 
government. In exchange for receiving additional time (until 
May 31) to coordinate on these outstanding points, Rezag Bara 
and the Algerian delegation agreed to the earliest possible 
transfer of detainee Sofiane Haderbache, who suffers from 
mental illness and for whom the U.S. does not require 
security assurances. At the close of the bilateral 
discussions, both sides agreed that the remaining assurances 
would be worked out between the Algerian and U.S. delegations 
through Embassy Algiers. End Summary. 

COURTESY CALL ON FM BEDJAOUI 
---------------------------- 

3. (S) S/WCI Ambassador at Large J. Clint Williamson and an 
interagency team consisting of Christopher Camponovo (NSC), 
Jay Alan Liotta (DoD), Andrew Morrison (S/WCI), and Vijay 
Padmanabhan (State L) sought assurances from the government 
of Algeria during April 21-22 discussions that would permit 
the return to Algeria of Algerian nationals detained at 
Guantanamo who have been approved for transfer. Williamson 
opened the visit with a courtesy call on FM Bedjaoui during 
which he delivered a letter from Secretary Rice seeking 
Bedjaoui's assistance in providing the Algerian government 
assurances necessary for the transfers. Williamson also 
explained the process by which the U.S. made decisions on 
transferring detainees out of Guantanamo, including the 25 
Algerians on the naval base. 

4. (S) Noting Algerian reluctance to enter into an exchange 
of diplomatic notes offering assurances on security and 
humane treatment of transferred detainees, Williamson told 
Bedjaoui he and his team could work with their Algerian 
counterparts to record the necessary assurances in signed 
minutes of their discussions. The end goal, stated 
Williamson, was to find an arrangement that both fulfilled 
the Administration's policies and satisfied the Algerian 
government. Bedjaoui responded that the Algerian team would 
accommodate Williamson and his team, adding that signed 
minutes were a better vehicle for conveying the necessary 
assurances than an exchange of diplomatic notes. The FM 
observed that the travaux preparatoires for the UN Charter 
are as important as the Charter itself. 

DISCUSSIONS WITH ALGERIAN INTERAGENCY 
------------------------------------- 

5. (S) The Algerian delegation led by presidential 
counterterrorism Counselor Kamel Rezag Bara included 
representatives from the Presidency, Ministry of Interior, 
National Police, security services, Ministry of Justice, and 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The senior MFA official 
present was Director General for Consular Affairs Hassane 
Rabehi. The U.S. representatives (paragraph 3) also included 
Ambassador Ford and PolEc Chief. Ambassador Williamson noted 
that the Algerians were a valued partner in counterterrorism 
cooperation and gave an overview of U.S. policy on Guantanamo 
detainees, explaining that the U.S had determined that seven 
Algerian detainees were eligible for transfer. He emphasized 
our need for commitments concerning humanitarian treatment 
for returned detainees and assurances that persons 

transferred do not re-engage in terrorist activity before 
their transfer to Algeria could be effected. 

6. (S) Rezag Bara said Algeria encouraged the U.S. to close 
the Guantanamo detention facility, since its operation 
created image problems for the U.S. among its friends around 
the world. The GOA, he continued, understood the need for 
investigations at Guantanamo on the detained individuals and 
supported a resolution of all Algerian detainee cases. Rezag 
Bara said the Algerian delegation understood what kinds of 
assurances and commitments the U.S. side sought and hoped to 
provide them in the course of their bilateral discussions. 
The presidential counselor stressed the Algerian need to 
ensure that any transferred detainees, unless previously 
arrested or charged in Algeria, were returning to the country 
by their own choice. Finally, he noted that Algerian law 
criminalized terrorist acts committed outside Algeria, even 
if Algeria was not a target of the activity. In this regard, 
the U.S. delegation should expect the Algerian government to 
pursue investigations and charges for returned detainees. 
From its own experience with terrorism, Rezag Bara told 
Williamson, Algeria would take all measures possible to 
prevent re-engagement of the returned detainees in terrorist 
activity. 

LIMITS ON FOREIGN TRAVEL 
------------------------ 

7. (S) Williamson responded that he saw very few differences 
in approach between the two sides. Algeria's taking steps to 
control detainees and keep them from returning to terrorism 
would be sufficient for the U.S. Williamson made clear we 
were not asking Algeria to detain or incarcerate the returned 
detainees; it was sufficient for us to receive confirmation 
that the transferred detainees would be treated in accordance 
with Algerian law and international conventions. DoD's 
Liotta expressed appreciation for the Algerian readiness to 
accept responsibility for what would be in all cases medium- 
or high-threat detainees. He asked if based on Algerian 
review of the detaineesQ, case files there was the likelihood 
of prosecution. Liotta also inquired what measures could be 
taken to limit the foreign travel of returned detainees. 

8. (S) To Liotta's first point, the justice ministry 
representative responded that an investigative judge would 
review facts related to the cases if the detainees once they 
were returned. It would be up to the judge to determine 
whether charges would be filed. Rezag Bara added that as 
part of this judicial review process, the U.S. and other 
third parties could submit evidence for the judge to 
consider. The national police representative, for his part, 
briefed that under Algerian law "convicted and subversive 
persons" lose the right to a passport and are subject to 
additional surveillance. Liotta requested further precision 
about non-convicted persons, since most Algerian detainees 
fell into this category. Rezag Bara clarified that the 
passport was lifted for all convicted persons. Persons who 
"otherwise present a threat but retain a passport" may be 
administratively prevented from leaving Algeria regardless of 
their passport status, said Rezag Bara. He added that both 
judicial and security service reviews of the detainees' files 
would be undertaken following their return. 

CASE OF SOFIANE HADERBACHE 
-------------------------- 

9. (S) Williamson noted that one of the seven detainees whom 
the U.S. sought to transfer to Algeria did not pose a 
security threat and no security assurances were necessary in 
his case. Sofiane Haderbache, said Williamson, had suffered 
a gunshot wound to the head in Afghanistan. As a result, 
this detainee had degenerative brain damage and would require 
extensive medical care for the duration of his life. 
Williamson indicated that the U.S. sought to return this 
detainee quickly, since we believed the mental health 
treatment and attention he required would be well provided in 
Algeria, where Haderbache could be near family and friends 
and receive mental health care in his own language and 
culture. Asked how the Algerians would address Haderbache's 
mental incapacity, Rezag Bara retrieved the case file. 
Reading from it, Rezag Bara noted that Haderbache had one 
outstanding traffic violation but otherwise had no legal 
entanglements. He said the GOA was fully aware of his unique 
medical requirements and was prepared to provide Haderbache a 
psychological and medical evaluation and treatment in an 
appropriate facility upon his return. 

HUMANE TREATMENT AND ICRC ACCESS TO ALGERIAN PRISONERS 
--------------------- ------------------- -------------- 

10. (S) Bara had explained in his opening presentation that 

returned detainees would be fully protected by Algerian law 
and Algerian international human rights commitments. 
Returning to the other six detainees who posed a medium or 
high security threat, Williamson asked if third parties such 
as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had 
access to prisoners in Algeria in the event that some of the 
returned detainees were held in penal facilities for a period 
of time. Rezag Bara responded that through intelligence 
channels the Algerian government could provide the location 
of government facilities in which any returned detainees 
would be held and questioned under the oversight of an 
investigative judge and the Ministry of Justice. The GOA, he 
continued, had no problem with making that information 
available or providing the ICRC access to the detainees under 
existing agreements between the ICRC and the Ministry of 
Justice. Rezag Bara added that ICRC personnel stationed in 
Tunis visited Algerian prisons on a monthly basis to assess 
conditions under which prisoners were held. 

11. (S) In a separate meeting, Williamson met April 22 with 
Mohamed Amara, Director General of Juridical and Judicial 
Affairs at the Ministry of Justice. Amara noted as a point 
of pride the strong cooperation between his government and 
the ICRC, which he explained was critical to the reform of 
jails and prisons in Algeria. He elaborated that the ICRC 
regularly visited Algerian prisons. In response to a 
question from Williamson, Amara explained that the Algerians 
began allowing ICRC access to their detention facilities in 
the 1990s. The ICRC currently, said Amara, has freedom to 
move within Algerian prisons and have direct contact with 
prisoners. He added there are no restrictions on access or 
topics of conversation. According to Amara, AlgeriaQ,s goal 
in cooperating with the ICRC is to ensure that Algeria meets 
international standards of detention. 

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS 
-------------------- 

12. (S) Following the discussions between the two 
delegations, both sides assembled teams to prepare minutes of 
the conversations that would satisfy the U.S. need for 
assurances and the Algerian desire not to provide such 
assurances through the exchange of diplomatic notes. The 
final English-language version of the minutes, which appears 
in paragraph 13 below, was initialed April 22 by both heads 
of delegation along with the final French-language version. 
After protracted discussions led to an impasse on the 
inclusion in the minutes of two security-related points vital 
for the U.S. side, Ambassador Ford proposed working through 
Embassy Algiers to provide acceptable assurances to 
Washington by May 31. (Note: Without additional internal 
discussions, the Algerian security services could not be 
persuaded to lift their objection to including language 
confirming GOAQ,s responsibility for transferred detainees. 
End Note.) Rezag Bara stressed the security services were 
uncomfortable guaranteeing that no returned detainee would 
later leave Algerian territory or return to terrorist 
activity. Williamson emphasized that the U.S. was looking 
for 100-percent effort and understood no 100-percent 
guarantee is possible. If the Algerian authorities become 
aware that a detainee exited Algeria, we merely ask to be 
informed, stated Williamson. The points in question which 
did not appear in the final minutes at GOA request follow: 

-- The Algerian government has agreed to take responsibility 
for these persons in conformity with its legislation and its 
international obligations, and will take all necessary and 
appropriate measures in conformity with its legislation and 
its international obligations to prevent the transferred 
persons from becoming involved in or facilitating terrorist 
activities. 

-- In response to an expressed request of the American 
Government concerning the possibility of the restriction of 
the freedom to travel abroad of the transferred persons, the 
Algerian Government indicated that measures of this nature 
will be taken only in the framework of legislative provisions 
in force. 

FINAL MINUTES AS INITIALED BY HEADS OF DELEGATION 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 

13. (S) BEGIN TEXT OF MINUTES: 

Mr. John Clint WILLIAMSON, Ambassador at Large for War 
Crimes Issues at the U.S. Department of State, conducted a 
working visit to Algiers from April 20 to 22, 2007, 
accompanied by a delegation composed of representatives from 
the Department of State, the Department of Defense and the 
National Security Council. 

During his visit, Mr. John Clint WILLIAMSON called on 
Mr. Mohammed BEDJAOUI, Minister of State, Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, to whom he delivered a letter from Secretary of 
State Condoleezza RICE. 

He was also received at the Ministry of Justice. 

A bilateral meeting bringing together delegations from 
the two countries (the members of which appear on the 
attached list) took place at Residence El Mithak on April 21 
and 22, 2007, under the chairmanship of Mr. Mohamed Kamel 
REZAG BARA, Counselor to the President of the Republic, and 
Mr. John Clint WILLIAMSON, Ambassador at Large for War Crimes 
Issues at the U.S. Department of State. 

The discussions concerned the situation of Algerian nationals 
detained at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo. 

The Algerian Delegation and the American Delegation expressed 
their great satisfaction with the quality of relations that 
exist between the PeopleQ,s Democratic Republic of Algeria 
and the United States of America and with the perspectives 
for their expansion and strengthening. 

Both Delegations particularly expressed their joint will to 
reach a comprehensive settlement concerning the situation of 
Algerian nationals detained in the U.S. Naval Base at 
Guantanamo. 

This settlement can be finalized according to a timetable and 
practical modalities to be defined through discussions 
between the two Delegations by the end of May 2007. 

The Algerian Delegation indicated that it had no objection to 
the transfer of the Algerian nationals whose Algerian 
nationality is established, to Algeria or to another country 
of their choice. 

The Algerian Delegation stated that in all cases, its 
nationals will be brought before the national judicial 
authority, which will ultimately determine their status. 

The Algerian Delegation underscored that Algerian legislation 
criminalizes membership by any Algerian national in a 
terrorist organization abroad, even if acts committed are not 
directed against Algeria. 
With respect to the concerns expressed by the American 
Delegation about the treatment of the Algerian nationals 
after their return to Algeria, the two Delegations, after an 
exchange of information, agreed that these concerns are dealt 
with, at a political level, by the consistent commitment of 
Algeria to the fight against international terrorism and, at 
a legal level, by Algerian legislation as well as by virtue 
of the obligations assumed by Algeria in the framework of the 
different pertinent international conventions to which it has 
adhered, notably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 
the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or 
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International 
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial 
Discrimination, as well as the body of international 
instruments relating to human rights and the arrangements 
concluded with the ICRC. 
Within the framework of relevant UN Security Council 
Resolutions for combating terrorism, particularly UNSCR 
1373/01, the two Delegations decided to reinforce their 
cooperation through necessary and appropriate measures, 
notably through the exchange of information and intelligence, 
with the goal of preventing these persons from being able to 
become involved in terrorist activities. 

Taking account of the preceding, the two Delegations accepted 
the principle, as a first step, upon the agreement of 
practical modalities, of the transfer of detainees whose 
names are as follows: 

- TRARI Mohamed 
- FEGHOUL Abdelli 
- HAMLILI Mustapha 
- ABBAR Houari 
- GHALLAB Bachir 
- HADJ-ARAB Nabil 

Due to his health condition, Sofiane HADERBACHE is to be 
transferred as soon as possible. 

END TEXT. 

14. (U) Ambassador Williamson and his delegation have cleared 
the text of this message. 
FORD