Algerian Court Sentences 49 to Death Over 2021 Lynching

Wildfires caused widespread destruction in northern Algeria in 2021

A court in Algeria has sentenced 49 people to death over the horrific lynching of a man falsely accused of starting destructive wildfires.

Djamel Ben Ismail, 38, was beaten to death by a mob in August 2021 when he handed himself in at a police station in the Tizi Ouzou region after hearing he was suspected of arson.

49 defendants received death sentences from the Casablanca Court in the capital Algiers, on a range of charges relating directly to the murder as well as national security charges.

A further 36 people were sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison, while 17 suspects were acquitted.

Those sentenced to death are expected to receive life in prison instead, as Algeria maintains a moratorium on executions that dates back decades.

Ismail had traveled more than 100 miles from his birthplace to the Tizi Ouzou region in Algeria to deliver money and assist in combating the widespread wildfires.

However, shortly after his arrival, villagers accused him of lighting fires, prompting him to seek police protection. An enraged mob took him from a police van, beat him to death, and set him on fire.

It was later determined that the accusations against Ismail were unfounded.