Algeria court sentences dozens to death over forest fire lynching | News

Forty-nine people have been sentenced to death for the execution of a man falsely accused of starting deadly fires last year.

An Algerian court has sentenced 49 people to death over the killing of a man falsely accused of starting deadly forest fires during last year’s heat wave, state media reported.

However, the North African country has maintained a moratorium on executions since the last executions in 1993, meaning sentences are likely to be reduced to life imprisonment.

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The court concluded that the people of the Algerian region of Tizi Ouzou beat Jamal Ben Ismail, 38, to death after he was accused of starting the fires that broke out last August and killed at least 90 people in northern Algeria.

It later emerged that Ismail, an artist from Miliana (230 kilometers or 140 miles west), had in fact gone to the area as a volunteer to help put out the fires.

Algeria, the largest country in Africa, was one of several Mediterranean countries to face devastating wildfires last year.

On Thursday, the Dar Al-Bayda Court, east of Algiers, issued death sentences against 49 people [Ben Ismail’s] The official news agency, the APS, said the killing and mutilation of his body.

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The APS news agency said the court had sentenced 28 other defendants to prison terms of two to 10 years without parole.

Videos posted online after the lynching showed a crowd surrounding a police car and beating a man inside, then dragging him down and setting him on fire, while some took selfies.

The horrific images went viral and sparked outrage in Algeria.

He praised the victim’s father, Noureddine Bensmail, for calling for calm and “fraternity” among Algerians, despite the murder of his son.

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The fires were started by the intense heat wave, but authorities blamed “criminals” for the outbreak.

The authorities also accused the “Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie”, which Algeria classifies as a “terrorist organization”. The movement, an autonomy movement for the Berber-majority Kabylie region in northern Algeria, rejected the accusations.

Although much of Algeria is desert, the north has more than four million hectares (10 million acres) of forest and suffers devastating fires every summer.

Climate scientists have repeatedly warned that man-made global warming will lead to higher temperatures and more extreme weather events around the world.

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