ALGIERS- Former liberation fighter Louisette Ighilahriz said retired French general Paul Aussaresses, whose death was announced on Wednesday, should have expressed regret for torturing people during Algeria's war of independence.
ALGIERS- Former liberation fighter Louisette Ighilahriz said retired French general Paul Aussaresses, whose death was announced on Wednesday, should have expressed regret for torturing people during Algeria’s war of independence.
“He was honest. He admitted to torturing Algerians… But he didn’t go all the way. He should have expressed regret,” she told AFP.
General Aussaresses, who died on Tuesday, was convicted in 2004 of defending torture in the former French colony.
He had his membership of the prestigious Order of the Legion d’Honneur removed by then president Jacques Chirac.
Part of the intelligence services in Algiers during the 1954-1962 war of independence, he admitted in May 2001 having used torture, saying it was “tolerated, and even recommended” by politicians at the time.
Ighilahriz compared Aussaresses favourably to another controversial French general, Marcel Bigeard, who condoned torture during the brutal eight-year battle against Algerian nationalists and who died in 2010.
“Aussaresses at least owned up to the practice of torture, unlike general Marcel Bigeard,” Ighilahriz said.
Bigeard always denied accusations that he had himself ordered torture sessions, which in Algeria involved electric shocks to the genitals and waterboarding, but said in 2000 that it was “a necessary evil”.
“It’s time the French authorities recognised the evils of colonialism,” said the former National Liberation Front fighter.
Ighilahriz revived the debate on torture in colonial times in an article in the French paper Le Monde in 2001 and then in a book she published that year (“Algerienne”).
She described how she had been tortured by soldiers of the 10th Paratroop Division between September 29 and December 20, 1957, under Bigeard’s command.