The Algerian President's promised investigation into fatal clashes in the Kabylie region must be truly independent if it is to have any credibility, Human Rights Watch said today.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on April 30 that the Algerian government would undertake an independent inquiry into the clashes, which have left at least 42 people dead and hundreds wounded since April 18. But previous government-sponsored inquiries have not been free of state interference, Human Rights Watch said.
"This inquiry has to be truly independent if anyone is going to believe in its conclusions," said Hanny Megally, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. "President Bouteflika's credibility depends on it."

There have been numerous reports of the excessive use of force, including beatings and unjustified use of live ammunition by security forces. In some cases demonstrators attacked government buildings and security forces with "Molotov cocktails" and other homemade weapons. Algerian press reports have put the death toll as high as eighty.

A copy of the letter to President Bouteflika can be found here.