French authorities accused of covering up Jew’s slaying by Muslim neighbor

A European Parliament member and prominent French intellectuals protested the omission of anti-Semitism from a draft indictment of a Muslim for the murder of his Jewish neighbor.

Frédérique Ries, a lawmaker from Belgium, on Thursday criticized French authorities’ handling of the investigation into the April 4 incident, in which Sarah Halimi was tortured and thrown out of her third-story apartment to her death, allegedly by Kobili Traore, who lived in her building.

“French authorities have treated her murder with icy silence,” Ries, who is Jewish, said in reference to the fact that Traore, who had no history of mental illness, was placed at a psychiatric institution and has not been charged with a hate crime despite evidence suggesting he killed Halimi because she was Jewish.

In a voice recording of the incident, Traore is heard shouting “Allahu akbar,” calling Sarah “Satan” and calmly praying after her killing, according to reports.

17 French intellectuals published a scathing criticism of the handling of the incident by authorities and the media.

“Everything about this crime suggests there is an ongoing denial of reality” by authorities, the intellectuals wrote, citing also testimonies of neighbors who said Traore had called Halimi a “dirty Jew” to her face and called her relatives “dirty Jews” as well in the past.

Many French Jews believe authorities covered up Halimi’s alleged murder to prevent it from becoming fodder for the divisive presidential campaign.

 

25 Convicted in Paris Court in Killing of French Jew

A Paris court has convicted Youssouf Fofana for the 2006 kidnapping, torture and murder of a young French Jew and sentenced him to life in prison – a verdict that drew a thumbs-up sign from the head of the self-styled “gang of barbarians.” Twenty-four others, including eight women, also were found guilty in the kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi, who was 23 years old. The case brought comparisons to the Dreyfus case and involved charges of racial and religious hatred.

Mr. Halimi, held captive for more than three weeks, was found naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks in the Essonne region south of Paris on Feb. 13, 2006. He died on the way to the hospital. The horrific death revived worries in France about lingering anti-Semitism, considered an aggravating circumstance in this case, and led to deep anxiety in France’s Jewish community, the largest in western Europe.

Fofana describes himself as a hard-line salafist Islamist. Halimi’s mother, Ruth Halimi, said that if her son “had not been Jewish, he would not have been murdered.” She accused the police of being slow to accept the anti-Semitic nature of the crime, for fear of offending Muslims.

Accused ringleader says “Allah Will Be Victorious” as Halimi trial begins in France

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.