France admits it used torture during Algeria war

France acknowledged Thursday that it instigated a “system” that led to torture during Algeria’s independence war, a landmark admission in a conflict that remains hugely sensitive six decades on.

President Emmanuel Macron is set to acknowledge that mathematician Maurice Audin, a Communist pro-independence activist who disappeared in 1957, “died under torture stemming from the system instigated while Algeria was part of France,” his office said.

Macron, who was due to visit Audin’s widow Thursday, will also announce “the opening of archives on the subject of disappeared civilians and soldiers, both French and Algerian.”

Macron, the first president born after the conflict, sparked controversy on the campaign trail last year by declaring that France’s colonization of Algeria was a “crime against humanity.”

On Thursday, he will visit the widow of Audin, whose disappearance has long been a source of fascination in France.

“I never thought this day would come,” Josette Audin told reporters at her apartment in the east Paris suburb of Bagnolet.

An assistant professor at the University of Algiers, Audin was 25 when he was arrested at his home – likely by French soldiers – accused of harboring communist independence fighters.

The father-of-three was tortured repeatedly in a villa in the Algiers neighborhood of El Biar.

Josette was told 10 days later that her husband had escaped while being transferred between jails.

This remained the official version of events until 2014, when Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande acknowledged that Audin died in detention.

His widow, who filed a murder case in the Algerian courts, is not set to receive an official explanation Thursday of how he died.

Source: National News Agency

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