Algeria issues death sentences over forest fires

Algeria issues death sentences over forest fires
Algeria issues death sentences over forest fires

ALGIERS, Nov 24 (Reuters) – An Algerian court on Thursday handed down death sentences to 48 people convicted of murdering a man they accused of starting deadly forest fires in the summer of 2020 .

Death sentences in Algeria are almost always later commuted to life in prison, with no executions having taken place in the country since the 1990s, when the government fought an Islamist insurgency in a civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The murder of Jamal Ben Ismail, a singer who said he traveled to Kabylia near Algiers to help fight the wildfires that ravaged Algeria in 2021, has shocked the country.

The fires have killed dozens of people and left towns and villages in ruins. Authorities said arsonists started the fires, without giving details.

After his trip to Kabylia, Ben Ismail was seized by dozens of young men from Larbaa Nath Irathen and burned alive according to testimonies and videos presented during the trial.

Judges also sentenced 37 other people to terms ranging from two to 10 years in prison and acquitted 17 others.

The Kabylia region, a hotspot of the 1990s insurgency, remains politically sensitive with local demands for greater representation of local culture and language.

Reporting by Lamine Chikhi, writing by Angus McDowall; edited by Philippa Fletcher

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The article is in French

. Algeria pronounces of condemnations death for of fires forest

. Algeria issues death sentences forest fires

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