Adlène Hicheur, a high-energy physicist who has worked on the world’s largest particle collider, has been held in a French prison under suspicion of terrorism for more than a year. CCS wrote a letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, urging him to investigate the circumstances of Dr. Hicheur’s detention.
Physicist’s Jailing Is Veiled in Mystery, The New York Times, March 14, 2011
Read the letter:
April 3, 2011
President of the French Republic
Palais de L’Elysee
We are an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world. We write now in concern for Adlène Hicheur.
Adlène Hicheur, a high-energy physicist who has worked on the world’s largest particle collider, has been held in a French prison under suspicion of terrorism for more than a year. In a letter to the French Physical Society, 19 physicists expressed deep concerned about Hicheur, a 33-year-old French-Algerian, who until his arrest was a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and worked on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland. Swiss investigation of Dr. Hicheur has exonerated him of wrongdoing connected with his work at CERN.
Hicheur was arrested on 8 October 2009. According to press reports, he was suspected of plotting terrorism attacks with Al-Qaeda. No formal charges have been issued and no trial date has been set.
Dr. Hicheur walks with a cane because of a herniated disk that was aggravated by his arrest and initial interrogation, his family said. Recently he was beaten by another inmate in the Fresnes prison, according to his lawyer.
We join our colleagues in asking for fair treatment of Adlene Hicheur. Even though a French judge has approved of his incarceration, such a long time in preventive detention appears to violate the requirements for prompt trial of Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as Article 9 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, both of which were ratified by France.
We urge you to investigate the circumstances of Dr. Hicheur’s detention, to examine the possibility of prompt access to bail and a trial for him and, in view of his Algerian origin, to consider the possible role of prejudice in his treatment.
Eugene Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer, Joel Lebowitz, Walter Reich, Paul Plotz
Co-chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Cc: François Fillon – Prime Minister
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