An Algerian court on Thursday (November 24th) sentenced 49 people to death in the 2021 murder in Kabylie of a man wrongly accused of arson, but those sentences should be commuted to life imprisonment due to a moratorium on executions, the official news agency reported.
The defendants were convicted of executing Djamel Ben Ismail, who had volunteered in the village of Arba Nath Irathin, in the province of Tizi Ouzou (northeast), to help put out forest fires that caused the death of 90 people in less than a week in August 2021. While the death penalty Already provided for in Algeria’s penal code, it is no longer applied under a moratorium in effect since 1993.
sequel after announcement
Outrage after the alleged killing of an arsonist in Algeria
Wrongfully accused of arson
The defendants, who appeared before the Dar Al-Bayda Court in the eastern suburb of Algiers, were tried in particular because of “Terrorist and sabotage acts against the state and national unity” And the “premeditated murder”According to the prosecution. A further 28 defendants tried in this case were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to ten years, and 17 others were acquitted.
After hearing that he was suspected of starting the forest fire, 38-year-old Djamel Bensmail surrendered to the police. Pictures posted on social media showed a crowd surrounding the police truck and pulling the man out of the car after he hit him. Bensmail was then beaten and then burned alive while the youths took selfies in front of the corpse.
The victim’s father is a national hero
At the time of the events, which sparked a wave of indignation across the country, the photos of the lynching that went viral were commented on in particular by the hashtag #JusticePourDjamelBenIsmail. Amnesty International called on the authorities to “Send a clear message that this violence will not be tolerated.”.
The Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights had ruled for its part “The scenes of the lynching and alleged fire sacrifice of a young artist who came to help the victims are shocking.” The victim’s father, Noureddine Bensmail, is admirably generous, hailed as a national hero after he preached calm and brotherhood among Algerians.
Excerpts from videos posted by the defendants on social media, showing details of the crime, were shown during the trial, which opened on Tuesday. These videos show Djamel Bensmail being executed, burned alive and stripped of his personal belongings, including his cell phone.