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Algeria defines terrorism in exceptionally broad terms in its national criminal law, potentially making the exercise of the right of assembly a criminal offence. The law has been used to prosecute human rights defenders, journalists, and peaceful activists.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Under a 1995 Executive Order, the Penal Code criminalizes acts that disturb the functioning of the State or its territorial integrity or security where the intent is to provoke fear in the population, to kill or injure people, to damage the environment, to block the traffic and free movement of people, to attack the means of communication or transport, or to impede the functioning of public services.Art. 87 bis, Penal Code of Algeria (as amended).

Additional offences were defined and created by Order No. 21-08 of 2021 and Law No. 20-06 of 2020.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties

Algeria is a State Party to most relevant treaties at global level.

Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State Party

At regional level, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention on Terrorism was adopted in the Algerian capital in 1999. Algeria has also adhered to the Arab League Convention on Terrorism

Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention State Party
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention State Party
1998 Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State Party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The Penal Code imposes penalties for terrorist offences ranging from ten to twenty years' imprisonment to life imprisonment up to the death penalty when the sentence ordinarily prescribed by the law would be life imprisonment.Art. 87 bis 1, Penal Code of Algeria (as amended).Creating or leading an organisation whose goal or activities fall within proscribed activities are puinishable by life imprisonment while participation in such a group is subject to ten to twenty years' imprisonment.Art. 87 bis 3, Penal Code of Algeria (as amended).Knowingly issuing or publishing documents that support or justify terrorism is subject to five to ten years' imprisonment and a fine.Art. 87 bis 5, Penal Code of Algeria (as amended).

CIVICUS has reported that in 2021 at least 59 individuals were being "prosecuted on bogus terrorism charges. Of those awaiting trial, four are human rights defenders, four are journalists, and 53 are peaceful activists. Among them, 43 have been held in pretrial detention from seven weeks up to seven months. The lack of credible evidence of terrorist activity provided and the wider context of crackdown on civic space indicate that authorities are solely prosecuting these individuals for exercising their fundamental freedoms."

On 27 December 2021, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, in a joint communication, called on the Algerian authorities to review their counterterrorism legislation on the grounds that it contravenes international norms.

Domestic Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies

Algeria faces a significant terrorist threat from al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) as well as from Islamic State. Domestically, Algeria's army along with multiple law enforcement, intelligence, and security services are engaged in counterterrorism operations. There is a particular focus on border security. Algeria's 2020 Constitution thanks the army for its key role in preventing terrorism.

Algeria is a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and co-chairs the GCTF’s West Africa Region Capacity-Building Working Group.  Algeria plays an important role in the Algiers-based AFRIPOL, an African Union mechanism that seeks to enhance African police cooperation and prevent transnational crime and terrorism. 


Penal Code (French and Arabic original texts)

Ordonnance 21-08 (2021)

Loi 20-06 (2020)

Joint UN Communication on Terrorism Legislation in Algeria

Algeria Constitution of 2020 (English translation)