Three jailed over Algeria Concert Stampede deaths

By AdvocateNews on 29/11/2019

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An Algerian court has handed three people prison sentences for “negligence” over a deadly stampede at an August concert, a judicial source told AFP Thursday.

Five people aged between 13 and 22 were killed and more than 80 injured on August 22 when fans thronged an entrance of a stadium in Algiers where France-based rapper Soolking was performing.

Samy Benchikh, the former head of Algeria’s public body for organising concerts, was sentenced to six months in prison, with three months suspended, a judicial source said on condition of anonymity.

The manager of a ticket company was handed six months in jail with four months suspended, and the same sentence was handed to the head of the company handling security at the event.

All three were charged with “negligence” after the court dropped manslaughter charges, the judicial source added.

Eleven security guards also on trial were released.

The incident forced culture minister Meriem Merdaci to resign and led to the sacking of Benchikh and Algeria’s police chief, Abdelkader Kara Bouhadba.

Soolking, 29, is a major star in Algeria, and his song “La Liberte” (Freedom) became a mainstay of the anti-government protest movement that has swept Algeria since February.

The choice of the August-20 stadium, one of the country’s oldest, to host the rapper’s sole planned concert in Algeria since his international career took off in 2018, was heavily criticised, in particular by families of the victims.

The day of the concert, large numbers of spectators were still waiting to enter shortly before the show began, and fears of not being able to enter reportedly sparked the stampede.

Posted 29/11/2019 04:36:36 AM

 

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