Activists denounce death sentences handed by Algeria to cover killing of Jamal Ben Smail
Algeria has handed 49 death sentences to people convicted of killing Jamal Ben Smail in a town in the Kabylie region, in a verdict denounced as sham by rights activists.
Ben Smail was killed by a mob in the village of Larbaa Naith Irathen accusing him of arson as the region faced a brutal wildfire that left dozens dead.
The Algerian regime scapegoated the Kabyle independence movement for the killing in a bid to distract attention for its failure to extinguish the blaze.
The military regime afterwards engaged in a series of blame games accusing arsonists and afterwards the Kabyle independence group MAK and then Israel and Morocco for the wildfires without providing whatever evidence.
“Critics were quick to point out that scapegoating Morocco and domestic opposition groups is an old tactic to divert attention from the regime’s spectacular failure in dealing with domestic problems such as the forest fires, the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of jobs,” Magdi Abdelhadi wrote in 2021 on the BBC.