Macron admits French forces ‘tortured and murdered’ Algerian freedom fighter, covered death with suicide

Macron admits French forces ‘tortured and murdered’ Algerian freedom fighter, covered death with suicide
Macron said his admission was made 'in the name of France'.
2 min read
03 March, 2021
Ali Boumendjel died during the war for independence [Getty]

An Algerian freedom fighter in the country’s war for independence was tortured and murdered by French forces, Emmanuel Macron finally admitted to his family.

He made the statement "in the name of France" during a meeting with Ali Boumendjel’s grandchildren, officially disavowing a coverup which ruled his death a suicide.

Boumendjel was a lawyer who was arrested during the battle of Algiers by the French army, "placed incommunicado, tortured, and then killed on 23 March 1957," the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

Last month, Boumendjel's niece Fadela Boumendjel-Chitour denounced what she called the "devastating" lie the French state had told about her uncle.

"Ali Boumendjel did not commit suicide. He was tortured and then killed," Macron told Boumendjel's grandchildren, according to the statement.

French historian Benjamin Stora, who wrote the government-commissioned report, said there is a "never-ending memory war" between the two countries.

The report has been described by the Algerian government as "not objective" and falling "below expectations."

While campaigning for office in 2017, Macron caused a sensation by declaring that the colonisation of Algeria was a "crime against humanity."

Then in 2018, he acknowledged that France had instigated a system that facilitated torture during the 1954-1962 Algerian war, which ended 132 years of French rule.

But Macron has since ruled out an official apology, maintaining that there was "no question of showing repentance" or of "presenting an apology" for the occupation of Algeria or the war.

Macron’s refusal to apologise – a provocation?

Kamal Belarbi, a representative in the Algerian Parliament, told The New Arab earlier this year that he considered the French statement a new political provocation and an attempt to deny Algeria’s right to recognition.

"We are used to provocation and we are accustomed to French reactions to Algeria's historic demand for official recognition, an apology for its colonial crimes and compensation for them," Belarbi told The New Arab.

"This position once again confirms France’s denial of all the terrible crimes that Algeria has witnessed,” he said.

Belarbi cited the plundering of Algeria’s natural resources, the placing of landmines that cause deaths to this day and the toxic effects of nuclear explosions as some of the crimes for which the French are responsible.

Algeria will celebrate 60 years of independence from France in 2022. The country's freedom from colonialism came at a huge human cost, as French colonial forces massacred hundreds of thousands of Algerian civilians and the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN).

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