In 1992, Djamel Ameziane decided to escape his native Algeria's violence and instability. He lived and worked in Austria until 1995, when he was denied a visa renewal due to changes in the country's immigration policies. He was forced to migrate to Canada, where he sought asylum. After five years of waiting, he was denied refugee status and forced to move yet again. Faced with limited options, he decided to go to Afghanistan in 2000. One year later, war broke out and Djamel tried to move again. However, this time he was captured by local authorities when he tried to cross the border with Pakistan. In 2002, he was given up for a reward to the United States and was eventually transferred to Guantanamo.
Although the U.S. never accused Djamel of having participated in any terrorist activity or combat, he was abused and tortured during his detention. He was placed in solitary confinement for long periods of time; he was beaten during interrogation; subject to simulated suffocation, sleep deprivation and loud music, among other forms of torture. Additionally, he was denied medical care for injuries sustained during his confinement; prevented from practicing and insulted for his religion and beliefs; and could not have regular contact with his family.
In December 2013, the United States forcibly returned Ameziane back to his home country of Algeria, which he had fled from fear of violence and persecution, particularly for being a member of the Berber ethnic minority. This repatriation violated the protective measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which required the United States to protect Ameziane from human rights abuses and required that he not be transferred "to a country where [there were] significant [dangers] of being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment ".
Currently the case of Djamel Ameziane is in the merits stage (judgment pending). During this phase, the Commission must consider the arguments and evidence presented by Ameziane's representatives, and whatever comments U.S. officials may offer in response. This is the first case in which the Commission will decide on the merits of a petition against the United States arising from the violations of human rights in Guantanamo.