An Algerian court has sentenced a man to death for killing French mountaineer Hervé Gourdel this year 2014.
Gourdel, 55 years old, was abducted while walking around the Djurdura National Park in Algeria. A gross video of Gourdel’s beheading was circulated online by the terrorist organization Jund al-Khalifa, which later claimed responsibility for the execution, which is linked to the Islamic State.
One of the defendants in the case, Abdelmalek Hamzaoui, appeared in court on Thursday, but others were tried in their absence.
Hamzaoui pleaded not guilty in the case and said he was only charged with the murder so the case could be closed. Several of Gourdel’s associates, who were also hostages of Jund al-Khalifa, identified Hamzaoui as one of the kidnappers. Despite Hamzaoui’s death sentence, all executions in Algeria have been postponed since this year 1993.
Gourdel was assassinated, most likely in September 2014, after French authorities refused to comply with the terrorist group’s demands to stop attacks on the Islamic State in Iraq. François H ollande, the then President of France, condemned the attack at the time, calling it both cruel and a sign of cowardice.
Gourdel’s body was not found until January 2015 following the Algerian authorities’ search for thousands of troops .