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A.K.A.: "Pimp Killer"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge for previous criminal charges - Torture - The last person executed by guillotine in France
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 2, 1974
Date of birth: 1949
Victim profile: Elisabeth Bousquet, 21 (his former girlfriend)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Marseille, France
Status: Executed by guillotine at Baumettes Prison in Marseille on September 10, 1977

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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 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 removed two-thirds of his right leg.

In 1973, a 21-year-old woman named Elisabeth Bousquet filed a complaint against Djandoubi 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 unfortunate woman mercilessly before stubbing a lit cigarette all over her breasts and genital area. Despite this Bousquet survived the ordeal, so Djandoubi took her by car to an outskirt of Marseille and there strangled her.

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 finally found the courage to take 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. It was all to no avail, however: 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 woken to be informed that all hope of a presidential reprieve had failed. Shortly afterwards, at 4:40 a.m., he was executed.

Hamida Djandoubi's life story is told in the book When the Guillotine Fell written by the Canadian author Jeremy Mercer.

While Djandoubi was the last person executed in France, he was not the last condemned. But no more executions occurred after capital punishment was abolished in France in 1981 following the election of François Mitterrand.


The Execution of Hamida Djandoubi

In 1974, Tunisian immigrant Hamida Djandoubi tortured and killed 22-year-old Elisabeth Bousquet in Marseilles, France. He put out cigarettes on her body, lit her on fire, strangled her and left her body in the Provencal countryside.

“When the Guillotine Fell,” a book by Jeremy Mercer, relates the story of the Djandoubi and the history of the guillotine. According to Mercer, Djandoubi was a depressed man who had lost part of his leg in an accident.

“Handsome and exotic, he seduced and then controlled several young women, before torturing one of them to death,” The Associated Press says in its review of the book.

The case generated a great deal of attention throughout France. Djandoubi would ultimately confess to Bousquet’s murder, saying: “I put the scarf around her neck and she didn’t struggle when I began to choke her. … I choked her for a few minutes and then I asked for the flashlight so I could make sure she was really dead. At one point, for reasons I can’t really explain, I kicked the girl’s nose but she didn’t move.”

But despite Djandoubi’s confession, if the jury concluded that there were “extenuating circumstances,” the death penalty could still be avoided, according to Mercer. But the jury said “no,” and Djandoubi would go to the guillotine.

On Sept. 10, 1977, convicted murderer Hamida Djandoubi became the last person executed by guillotine in France.



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