Algeria: Court Sentences 49 People to Death for Lynching a Man Accused of Causing Forest Fire

  • Algerian court sentences dozens to death and jail others for engaging in jungle justice.
  • The convicts were found guilty of lynching a man they accused of causing forest fire.
  • The ghastly wildfire took place last year in Algeria, resulting in the death of many across the northern part of the country.
  • Wildfires have become rampant in the region and other parts of the world due to the rise in global temperature and climate change caused by human activities.

Algeria: Court Sentences 49 People to Death for Lynching a Man Accused of Causing Forest Fire

A(caps) court in Dar el-Beida, east of Algiers, the capital of Algeria, has sentenced 49 people to death for lynching a man wrongly accused of initiating a forest fire last year.

The 38-year-old Djamel Ben Ismail was mobbed, beaten, and lynched by locals in Tizi Ouzou District who accused him of starting the wildfire that killed over 90 people across Northern Algeria in August 2021.

Later reports and investigations indicated that Ismail, an artist from Miliana, a town, in northwestern Algeria, migrated to the Tizi Ouzou District (230 km away) as a volunteer to help fight the fire, but was falsely accused and murdered through jungle justice.

The killing of Ismail led to a widespread outrage across Algeria after viral videos of his lynching showed a crowd dragging him out of a police van, beating him brutally, setting him on fire, and taking selfies with the burning body.

Amidst unrest in the country following the killing of Ismael, several arrests were made including those who directly slaughtered him and those who took selfies without intervening in his death.

APS, an official state news agency, reports that the court in its verdict has sentenced 49 people to death after finding them guilty of murder and mutilation. Meanwhile, 28 other defendants were given two to ten years in jail without parole.

Algeria, located in North Africa, is the largest country in Africa by land mass (2.382 million km²). Much of the country, especially the Northern region is desert which makes it prone to summer wildfires.

The country was one of the countries in the Mediterranean region that suffered a devastating forest fire last year which led to the loss of dozens of lives and properties.

The rise in wildfires across the globe as well as the melting of glaciers and flooding are attributed to global warming and climate change-caused human activities.

Although Algerian authorities believed some of those wildfires in the country were caused by criminal activities, Ismail was only a volunteer. Besides, the country practices Sharia law as well as French Civil Courts legal system which does not support jungle justice.

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