'Lift Algeria's emergency status'

2010-02-09 19:34

Algiers - The head of an Algerian human rights group has called for the lifting of a state of emergency declared 18 years ago as an Islamist insurgency got under way.

Mustapha Bouchachi says the state of emergency "no longer has a reason to exist" since authorities claim terrorism is all but defeated.

He claimed at a news conference on Tuesday that the measure, which restricts movement, is now used to reign in opposition parties, NGOs and unions.

Bouchachi, who heads the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, called for a campaign to lift it.

The state of emergency was declared February 9 1992, as Islamists angered by an army decision to cancel national elections turned to violence that evolved into a full-blown insurgency.