An Algerian court sentenced 49 people to death on Thursday for the brutal mob killing of a painter who had been suspected of starting devastating wildfires
49 People Sentenced to Death Over Brutal Killing In Algeria, Court Rules
An Algerian court sentenced 49 people to death on Thursday over the brutal killing last year of Jamal Ben Ismail, who they falsefully accused of starting forest fires in the Kabylie region.
The Casablanca Court in the capital, Algiers, said that 49 defendants were sentenced to death on charges of premeditated murder, arson, torture and subversive terrorist acts targeting the security of the homeland, property and people and undermining national unity.
Out of 102 defendants, 17 were acquitted, while the rest received prison sentences ranging from 5-10 years.
In August 2021, 38-year-old Ismail, a singer, had travelled over 100 miles from his hometown to the Tizi Ouzou region to bring donations and assist in fighting wildfires that had spread across Algeria.
But soon after he arrived, locals accused him of starting fires himself, and he sought police protection. He was dragged from a police van, beaten to death and set on fire by an angry mob.
It was later found that Ismail was innocent of the accusations.
Police said photos posted online helped them identify suspects. His distraught family questioned why those filming didn’t save him instead.
The authorities accused the separatist Independence of the Tribes organization, whose leadership is based in France, of being behind the events, seeking to create discord among the citizens, while the organization denied this.
The rulings are preliminary and can be appealed to the Algiers Court of Appeal.
Among those on trial were three women and a man who knifed the victim’s inanimate body before he was burned.
Algeria suspended implementation of death sentences since its last executions in 1993 so that they automatically become life sentences