38 people sentenced for lynching in Algeria

38 people sentenced for lynching in Algeria

Algeria’s appeal court has sentenced 38 people for the 2021 lynching of a man wrongly suspected of starting wildfires.

The court on Monday found them guilty of multiple charges, including murder, torture and incitement leading to murder.

The 38 were handed death sentences, but these will be commuted to life in prison as Algeria has a moratorium on executions.

The lynching victim, 38-year-old Djamel Ben Ismail, had travelled to help fight wildfires in the Kabylie region, east of the capital Algiers.

Locals accused him of starting the fires, before torturing and killing him.

The court acquitted 27 defendants and sentenced 29 others to terms ranging between three and 20 years.

In November last year, an Algerian court sentenced 49 people to death for Ismail’s murder.

However, the rights group Amnesty International in January criticised the mass sentences, saying that the trials “were marred by fair trial violations and torture claims, while at least six were prosecuted due to their political affiliations”.

The rights group called for the overturning of sentences and retrials for “those convicted in their absence or prosecuted over their political affiliations”.

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