February 15, 1956.The French government approves use of the guillotine for Algerian nationalists who have been sentenced to death. François Mitterrand is minister of justice. June 19, 1956. Ahmed Zabana, thirty year-old is executed at dawn in Algiers, making him the first person to be guillotined in the Algerian War. The blade catches twice before finally decapitating him on the third attempt. Six months later, the “Battle of Algiers” begins.