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Swiss-based Algerian dissident detained

An Algerian political refugee in Switzerland who heads a Geneva-based human rights group has reportedly been detained in France on decades-old Algerian terror charges.

The Alkarama group, which campaigns for human rights in Arab countries, says its executive director Mourad Dhina was arrested on Monday at Paris-Orly airport.

Alkarama spokesman Michael Romig said Dhina appeared before a French magistrate on Tuesday to hear Algeria's extradition request and was then returned to custody.

Romig said the terrorism charges against Dhina in Algeria stem from his long-standing opposition to its government. 

He was a former top official in the Islamic Salvation Front, the organisation which was poised to win the Algerian elections in 1992, which led to an army crackdown and a decade-long bloody civil war.

Dhina has lived in Switzerland for over 20 years. According to Alkarama's website, he is an Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained physicist.

Officials at Algeria's embassy in the Swiss capital Bern declined to comment on the case.

swissinfo.ch and agencies



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