Hamida Djandoubi

Hamida Djandoubi (c. 1949 – 10 September 1977) was the last person to be guillotined in France, at Baumettes Prison in Marseille. He was a Tunisian immigrant who had been convicted of the torture and murder of 21-year-old Elisabeth Bousquet, his former girlfriend, in Marseille. Marcel Chevalier served as chief executioner.

Born in Tunisia around 1949, Djandoubi started living and working in Marseille, France, in 1968 as a packer. He lost his job in 1971 after a workplace accident resulted in the loss of two-thirds of his right leg.

In 1973, a 21-year-old woman named Elisabeth Bousquet filed a complaint against Djandoubi, who was her lover, for illegal confinement and cruelty, claiming that he had tried to force her into prostitution.

After his arrest and eventual release from custody during the spring of 1973, Djandoubi drew two other young girls into his confidence and then forced them to "work" for him. The idea of taking revenge on his accuser never left his mind, however, and in July 1974, he kidnapped Bousquet and took her into his home where, in full view of the terrified girls, he beat the woman before stubbing a lit cigarette all over her breasts and genital area. Bousquet survived the ordeal so Djandoubi took her by car to an outskirt of Marseille and strangled her there.

On his return Djandoubi warned the two girls to say nothing of what they had seen, and it was not until Bousquet's body was identified one month after its discovery in a shed by two children on 7 July 1974 that the girls took their story to the authorities.

After a lengthy pre-trial process, Djandoubi eventually appeared in court in Aix-en-Provence on charges of torture-murder, rape and premeditated violence on 24 February 1977. His main defence revolved around the supposed effects of the amputation of his leg six years earlier which his lawyer claimed had driven him to a paroxysm of alcohol and violence, turning him into a different man. On 25 February he was condemned to death. An appeal against his sentence was rejected on 9 June, and in the early morning of 10 September 1977, Djandoubi was informed that he would not receive a presidential reprieve. Shortly afterwards, at 4:40 a.m., he was executed.

Capital punishment is now abolished in France.

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