People attend a national gathering to protest antisemitism and the rise of anti-Semitic attacks in the Place de la Republique in Paris, France, February 19, 2019..
(photo credit: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center Europe expressed concern to French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet about the findings of French magistrates in the case of the murder of Sarah Halimi, and said he was “sickened” by the ruling that Halimi’s murderer will not stand trial.
Halimi, a Jewish citizen of Paris, was brutally killed on the night of April 3, 2017 when Kobili Traore, a Malian native, broke into her apartment in the Belleville district of Paris and beat her before throwing her from a third-floor window. Reports by neighbors who heard the attack stated that Traore was heard quoting verses from the Koran, shouting “Allahu Akhbar” and calling Halimi “Satan.”
Traore, despite having no psychiatric history, was subjected to three separate psychiatric assessments over the two years since the attack, and has been finally declared mentally unfit to stand trial due to marijuana intoxication at the time of the attack.
The Center’s director for international relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, stated, “It is just over a week since our congratulatory letter, regarding the [May 16] police ‘reconstruction’ of the murder of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, Mireille Knoll. We had viewed this as a major step forward in the case.”
Knoll was murdered in her Paris apartment in March 2018, and the case was immediately declared an antisemitic hate crime. The case of Sarah Halimi took until September 2017 before French courts acknowledged it was an antisemitic attack.
“Both crimes were irrefutably antisemitic, violently committed by their respective neighbors shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the killing...” said Samuels, adding, “If justice is perverted and murder excused due to drug addiction, this sets a precedent for every drunk driver to be similarly acquitted.”
The BNVCA, a French organization dedicated to combating antisemitism, said in a statement on May 24, “The children of Madame Sarah Halimi, her family, like all unbelieving Jews in France, feel a deep feeling of unease and frustration that will mark the history of France’s struggle against antisemitism... From the beginning of the investigation, the BNVCA had sensed that this crime would go unpunished.”
Samuels concluded in his statement, “Such a judgment not only denies justice to the victims’ families, it also encourages further antisemitic violence. We call for a full investigation into an absurd judicial procedure that scoffs at the values of the Republic [of France].”
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