Salem was an educated Algerian militant who studied in the Sorbonne and who could build ties with many French, Pieds-Noirs included, men and women who were unhappy with the Algerians’ situation under French rule, and who, for some, were actively helping the Algerian militants. He had therefore built a valuable network which he used for several purposes such as providing hideouts to FLN leaders in Algiers or trying to build dialogue bridges between the FLN and the French officials.
Following his arrest, Salem was taken to the famous Villa Sesini and handed over to two officers who interrogated and tortured him (the Question) so that he tells them everything about the FLN leadership and the French people who were helping them. But he had no contact with the FLN leaders and had no answer to give. So torture continued almost killing him if it weren’t for another French officer who helped treat him (not all French military were monsters). Continue reading