Monday December 05, 2022

Algeria sentences scores to death over forest fire lynching

November 25, 2022

ALGIERS: An Algerian court on Thursday sentenced 49 people to death over the lynching of a man falsely accused of starting deadly forest fires during an extended heatwave last year, state media reported.

The North African country has, however, maintained a moratorium on carrying out death sentences since the last executions in 1993. Onlookers had beaten 38-year-old Djamel Ben Ismail to death after he turned himself in at a police station in the Tizi Ouzou region.

He had gone there upon hearing that he was suspected of arson, at the height of blazes which killed at least 90 people nationwide. It later emerged that Ben Ismail, an artist from Miliana (230 kilometres or 140 miles further west), had headed to the region as a volunteer to help put out the fires. Algeria, Africa´s biggest country, was one of several Mediterranean nations to face devastating wildfires last year. The court in Dar El Beida on Thursday “sentenced 49 people to execution over (Ben Ismail´s) murder and mutilation of his body,” the APS news agency reported.