Algerian police announced on Sunday (August 15th) the arrest of 36 people suspected of having participated in the lynching and immolation of a man by a crowd wrongly accusing him of pyromania in Kabylia (northeast of the country), plagued by deadly fires.
The case shocked and moved the whole country after videos were posted on social media showing a mob beating to death a man who was actually helping put out the flames, as fires raging in Algeria left more than 90 dead and missing in less than a week.
The victim, Djamel Ben Ismaïl, 38, had "
surrendered to the police on her own
" after hearing that she was suspected of having set fire to the forest, said the director of the judicial police , Mohamed Chakour, during a press conference.
Images relayed online show the crowd surrounding the police van in Larbaa Nath Irathen, in Tizi Ouzou prefecture, badly affected by the fires, and extricating the victim from the vehicle after hitting him.
The man was then beaten and then immolated while young people took selfies in front of the corpse.
The unbearable images of the lynching
Among the 36 suspects arrested, the man "
who stabbed the victim
" was arrested while he "
tried to flee to Morocco
", added Mr. Chakour, stressing that the investigation was still ongoing. The images of the lynching were widely distributed and commented on, in particular via the hashtag #JusticePourDjamelBenIsmail. During the police press conference, an image of a person attempting to behead the charred corpse was also shown.
constitutes a further trauma for the family and for the Algerian people already shocked by this tragedy
", estimated the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights in a press release, reiterating its demand for "
justice and truth
" concerning this "
The father of the victim, Noureddine Ben Ismaïl, admirably dignified, was hailed as a national hero after calling for calm and brotherhood among Algerians.
His gesture, which is to be included in the world pantheon of the founding acts of human nobility, tolerance, righteousness, few men have been or will be able to produce it
", praised the journalist and writer Mohamed Badaoui on his Facebook page.