Ilan Halimi was kidnapped Jan. 20, 2006, tied up in a cellar and tortured for 24 days in the suburb of Bagneux. His kidnappers tried unsuccessfully to extort a $600,000 ransom from his family. Halimi was found naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks south of Paris Feb. 13, 2006. He died en route to a hospital.
His murder case went to trial in Paris last week, with 27 people charged with participating in the abduction, torture and killing of Halimi, a 23-year-old mobile-phone salesperson. The lead defendant, Youssouf Fofana, is said to have admitted that he set out to kidnap a Jew and hold him for ransom. There are 27 accused in the case. On April 30 Halimi’s family walked out after Fofana made intimidating comments, saying he had friends in the courtroom who would “take pictures to identify people.” The case has been called a symptom of growing anti-Semitism in the suburban ghettos where the defendants, most of them the children of black and Muslim immigrants, live. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.