Algeria orders investigation into mob lynching in reference to forest fires | World information
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – An Algerian public prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the death of a man who was lynched by a mob after he was accused of starting fires that devastated the region, the Algerian news agency APS said.
Forest fires in Algeria killed at least 69 people in the mountainous Berber region.
The killing occurred in Larbaa Nath Irathen in Tizi Ouzou district, one of the districts hardest hit by the fires. The victim was identified as 38-year-old Djamel Ben Ismail.
The local prosecutor issued a statement from APS on Thursday, “following Wednesday’s videos on social media showing the murder of a citizen (burned and lynched).”
He ordered an investigation into the case to identify the attackers and bring them to justice “so that the heinous crime would not go unpunished”.
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The statement said a crowd violently attacked the police station, where the victim was protected from officials, and managed to remove it. They “dragged him outside, beat him and burned him, which resulted in his death.”
“Police officers who intervened to protect and help the victim were also injured,” the statement said.
Amnesty International urged the Algerian authorities to investigate the death immediately and “send a clear message that this violence will not go unpunished”.
Ben Ismail was buried late Thursday evening in his hometown of Khemis Miliana, 115 kilometers west of Algiers.
“Do you realize they even tortured him to death?” Mohamed Khalfi, Ben Ismail’s maternal uncle, told The Associated Press. “And what hurts me is that the people filmed … I am his uncle and I ask that justice does its job and that those who watched without doing anything are judged.”
One of Ben Ismail’s friends, Rafik, who did not give his last name, said he was “an artist, a young man who loves the guitar and loves life … not a violent man”.
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