France admits ‘torture, murder’ of Algerian freedom fighter

PARIS (AFP) – French forces “tortured and murdered” Algerian freedom fighter Ali Boumendjel during his country’s war for independence, President Emmanuel Macron admitted on Tuesday, officially reappraising a death that was covered up as a suicide.

Macron made the admission “in the name of France” during a meeting with Boumendjel’s grandchildren.

The move comes after Macron stoked outrage in January when he refused to issue an official apology for abuses committed during the occupation of Algeria.

Instead, he agreed to form a “truth commission” as recommended by a report commissioned by the government to shed light on France’s colonial past.

Atrocities committed by both sides during the 1954-1962 Algerian war of independence continue to strain relations between the countries.

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

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