A court therefore sentenced 49 people to death. The judges found it proven that they killed the man more than a year ago and desecrated his body, Algeria’s state news agency APS reported on Thursday. 28 defendants were sentenced to prison terms of between two and ten years, and 17 others were acquitted.
The brutal murder had caused great horror in Algeria. A crowd killed the man in August last year, mistaking him for an arsonist. Fierce forest fires were raging in Algeria at the time, killing dozens of people. The police initially brought the man and other suspects to a police station. The mob eventually attacked the guard and dragged him out. Police officers were still trying to help the victim. Several officers are said to have suffered burns themselves.
According to media reports, however, the allegations of the crowd turned out to be false: instead of setting fire, the dead man is said to have helped extinguish forest fires.
The verdicts can still be appealed. The last time people were actually executed in Algeria was around 30 years ago. Since then, a moratorium has been in place: the death penalty is still imposed, but no longer carried out. According to Amnesty International, one death penalty was imposed in 2020, compared to nine last year.