Bruni to Zeitouni family: Justice will be served

France’s first lady writes personal letter to mother of Israeli hit-and-run victim; says she shares family's sorrow.

December 26, 2011 21:23
2 minute read.
Hit-and-run victim Lee Zeitouni

Hit-and-run victim Lee Zeitouni 311. (photo credit: Courtesy: Facebook)


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France's first lady Carla Bruni has promised that justice will be served in the case of an Israeli woman who was killed last September in a hit-and-run accident by two French nationals.

The two men, who have been identified as Claude Isaac Hayat and Eric Rubic, hit and instantly killed Pilates instructor Lee Zeitouni as she crossed a Tel Aviv street on Friday September 16.

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The two men not only fled the scene of the accident, but a few hours later boarded a plane and flew to their native Paris. A few days later Hayat admitted to the accident in an emotional interview on Israel’s Channel 10 news.

“I would like to convey my condolences and share the sorrow of your family,” wrote Bruni, a former actress and model who is married to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a personal letter to Lee Zeitouni’s mother, Kate.

The letter was in response to correspondence sent by the Zeitouni family just over a month ago asking for Bruni’s assistance in bringing the two men to justice.

“I was very moved to read your letter and hear about what happened to your daughter on the morning of September 16, 2011,” wrote Bruni in her letter, which was presented to the Zeitouni family by France’s Ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot.

Bruni continued: “I want to inform you that the Israel’s request to investigate this matter has been received. A prosecutor has been appointed and a judge has taken charge of the investigation. The French legal system is doing its best without delay and at the same time is in constant contact with the Israeli authorities.”

She also said that Israeli investigators had recently visited Paris and the local French authorities had expressed their commitment to coordinate all activities. In addition, the French ambassador in Tel Aviv is keeping track of the joint activities and is touch with the family.

At the end of the letter, Bruni repeated her sympathies with the family’s tragedy and thanked Kate for acknowledging the recent birth of her daughter Giulia.

Earlier this month, it was reported by Israel Radio that the two suspects in the accident had requested to be tried in France rather than facing charges in Israel.

According to that report, the maximum prison sentence they would expect to receive in France is seven years, while in Israel they could face up to 20 years in prison.

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