1854: John Tapner, the last hanged on Guernsey 1661: Maeyken de Smet, Olsene witch

1957: Fernand Iveton, pied-noir revolutionary

February 11th, 2016 Headsman

Iveton is taken, is condemned to death, is refused pardon, is beheaded. This man said and proved that he did not seek anyone’s death, but we, we sought his and we got it without fail. It was intimidating, was not it? And as was said the other day by an imbecile, it “showed the terrible face of France irritated.”

-Jean-Paul Sartre, We Are All Murderers (Source, in French)

Fernand Iveton (or Yveton) was guillotined on this date in 1957, for Algeria.

An pied-noir gas worker, Iveton (English Wikipedia entry | French) attempted to bomb the Algerian Gas Company in support of the National Liberation Front, to which he also belonged.

Wishing to commit his sabotage sans bloodshed, he timed the bomb to detonate when the plant would be empty … but under close surveillance, he was stopped in the act of setting it on the evening of November 14, 1956.

Iveton’s tenderness for his countrymen’s lives was not reciprocated by the military court which, acting with frightful emergency powers, death-sentenced him as a terrorist 10 days later. The man’s last mercy appeal was denied by the Minister of Justice, Francois Mitterrand* — who as President of France a quarter-century hence would abolish the the death penalty.

He went to the guillotine with two Muslims, Mohamed Lakhneche and Mohamed Ouenouri, kissing them in the shadow of the blade with the words, “The life of a man is of little account. What matters is Algeria, its future. Algeria will be free tomorrow: I am certain that the friendship between Frenchmen and Algerians will mend.”

Iveton was the only European guillotined in the Algerian War of Indepenence.

* Mitterand always remained coy when asked to comment in later years on this case.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Algeria,Beheaded,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,France,Guillotine,History,Terrorists,Torture

2 thoughts on “1957: Fernand Iveton, pied-noir revolutionary”

  1. P Kamuf says:

    A good post. Just one little correction: it is Mitterrand, with two r’s. Many French speakers make the same mistake.

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