Jurists Hail Freezing Of Nationality Bill
Algerian jurists have hailed President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s decision to freeze the controversial nationality bill, describing his position as “sober” meant to avert erroneous interpretations and misunderstandings, stressing that Algeria, in the current juncture, does not need to amend the nationality law.
In a statement to “Echorouk”, the lawyer accredited to the Supreme Court, Nadjib Bettam, said that the position of the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, was a wise one and came in response to the queries of legal experts in Algeria. With opposing opinions, the lawyer considered that the president’s position is “sober” due to the controversy that the project raised in a large part of it, considering that it saved the reputation of the Algerian legislative system and the brand image of the Algerian legislator.
Mr. Bettam believes that the current nationality law is sufficient to deal with cases of revocation and stripping of nationality from those who have been involved in espionage and destabilization cases, as it is not reasonable – according to him – to strip of nationality the Algerian who was born to an Algerian mother and father just for having expressed his or her opinion, indicating that there are other mechanisms of punishment and follow-up apart from revoking nationality.
Mr. Bettam further pointed out that the current juncture is not suitable for launching this project, because there are priorities that should be considered, especially those related to combating drugs and addiction, and reconsidering some texts such as infidelity crimes on social media and violent crimes … and legislating legal texts to combat speculation and tighten penalties against those who caused harm to the citizens’ purchasing power in this political and economic juncture.
For his part, the lawyer accredited to the Supreme Court, Ibrahim Bahlouli, confirmed that the draft law came within the framework of protecting Algeria from the conspiracy that it is exposed to by some of those individuals residing abroad, but in the same context it opened a room for various interpretations, and one ought to appreciate the President of the Republic’s decision aimed at freezing the project, saying, “The juncture that the country is going through is the reason which prompted the first judge in the country approve the freezing of the project, and this is a wise opinion, because the social and political situation does not allow it to be passed so as not to allow people who took advantage of the situation abroad to put pressure on the Algerian state”.
In addition, the lawyer and member of the Algiers lawyers’ Syndicate, Ahmed Deham, affirmed in a statement to “Echorouk” that the legal principle requires legislation through the two chambers of Parliament, and since the People’s National Assembly has been dissolved, the law cannot be passed, and even in the case of legislation by orders, it has deficiencies, and this led to the freezing of the draft nationality law in order to avoid the adverse interpretations and all the uproar that was raised after its recent presentation by the Minister of Justice, and keeper of the seals.
Mr. Deham explained that the President of the Republic’s decision is correct to maintain legal security, which requires the enactment of general laws that do not pertain to a particular group so that they are valid for every time and place and not circumstantial.
As a recall, the relevant draft bill on the forfeiture of Algerian nationality for any Algerian who commits acts undermining national security and unity has been “withdrawn” because of “its erroneous interpretation”, President of the Republic Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Sunday evening.
In his latest interview with national media officials, President Tebboune reported the “withdrawal” of the draft law on the procedure of forfeiture of Algerian nationality acquired or of origin applicable to any Algerian who commits, outside the national territory, acts voluntarily causing serious harm to the interests of the state or undermining national unity.
The decision to withdraw this text, presented in a cabinet meeting, comes after “the erroneous interpretation” that was given, explained the Head of State, recalling that “dual or multiple nationality is not a crime and we respect that because it is supposed to bring more to the country of origin of the person concerned in a climate of nationalism.
“This procedure only concerned the question of the attack on state security, which we will defend in one way or another,” President Tebboune stated.
As a reminder, the Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, Mr. Zeghmati, had presented, on 4 March, during a cabinet meeting, a draft law that provides for the establishment of a procedure for the forfeiture of Algerian nationality acquired or of origin which will be applicable to any Algerian who commits, outside the national territory, acts that voluntarily cause serious harm to the interests of the state or undermine the national unity.
This text, which President Tebboune confirmed “the suspension of its process”, was introduced to modify and complete Ordinance No. 70-86 of 15/12/1970 on the Algerian nationality code, to apply to “anyone who is active in or adheres to a terrorist organization, as well as anyone who finances it or advocates it”.
This provision also concerns “any person who collaborates with an enemy State”.
In addition, the provisions “remain in line with the relevant international conventions and guarantee the right to appeal”.