Amira Bouraoui – A slap in the face for Tunis and Algiers, France imposes its will


The French-Algerian activist Amira Bouraoui is out of the woods, it seems. After being sentenced to two years in prison by an Algerian court, she fled the country and headed for Tunis. There she decided to embark for France, with her French passport, the authorities prevented her from doing so. The decision was taken to send her back to her Algerian neighbor and brother. This was without counting on the energy of her lawyers…

Amira Bouraoui

Amira Bouraoui, 46, a doctor by training, is now “under the protection of the French authorities”, said her lawyer François Zimeray. She is “free and in good health”, added her Tunisian lawyer, Hashem Badra, quoted by Le Figaro yesterday evening, February 6.

Mr. Zimeray also “welcomed the mobilization of the French authorities” for his client, under a ban on leaving the Tunisian territory. Recall that she landed last Friday in Tunis. After his arrest she was imprisoned, a provisional detention that ended yesterday, after his passage before a judge. She was released, pending another appearance this February 23 …

However, for some reason she was taken to a border police station in Tunis to “be deported to Algiers” yesterday evening, said her Tunisian lawyer. The Ministry of the Interior refused to comment on the case.

“My client has been the subject of an attempted kidnapping and confinement by some authorities in Tunisia, at the request of the Algerian authorities,” said François Zimeray, former French ambassador to Denmark.

“I made it known this afternoon that I would not hesitate to file a complaint with the Paris prosecutor’s office for kidnapping-sequestration if she was not immediately released, knowing that, under French law, arbitrary detention committed by an agent of the public force is a crime. And that when this crime is committed abroad on a French citizen, the French courts have jurisdiction,” he added.

According to an official of the Human Rights Watch office in Tunis, “under no circumstances” should Amira Bouraoui be returned to “a country where she has been imprisoned and subjected to a series of prosecutions for her peaceful activism and opinions.

“Known since her involvement in the movement ‘Barakat’ in 2014, which led a campaign against the fourth term of the late president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, she has tried several times to leave the national territory in recent months to visit her son based in France, but in vain,” according to the site of the Algerian media Radio M, where she was piloting since September a political program.

Note that the activist had been in prison in 2020, in connection with several criminal cases. After her release in July 2020, she was again in trouble with the law, for “offending” Islam in an inflammatory post on her Facebook page.


Tunisia came close to transferring to a prison annex of Algeria when it proceeded to the arrest of Amira Bouraoui, opponent and leader of the Algerian popular movement, Hirak. “France humiliates the Algerian junta, after the aborted attempt to kidnap the journalist Amira Bouraoui in Tunisia,” read comments from Algerian activists. Algerian dignitaries are angry with France.

Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, Othman Jerandi, on Tuesday 7 February, the day after the “diplomatic incident” caused by the departure of the Algerian political activist Amira Bouraoui to France from Tunis airport.

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