Protesters Want Trial in Slaying of Jewish Woman

Macron is among those calling for a change in French law
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 25, 2021 12:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Protesters in Paris and other French cities on Sunday denounced a ruling by France's highest court that the killer of a Jewish woman was not criminally responsible and therefore could not go on trial. Thousands of people filled Trocadero Plaza in Paris, in front of the Eiffel Tower, answering a call by Jewish associations and groups fighting antisemitism that say justice has not been done in the slaying of Sarah Halimi. Other protests took place in Marseille, Lyon, Strasbourg, and Bordeaux. The announcement that the killer would not be sent to trial sparked outrage among the French and international Jewish community, the AP reports. Halimi, 65, died in 2017 after being pushed out of the window of her Paris apartment by her neighbor, Kobili Traoré, who allegedly shouted "Allahu Akbar"—"God is great" in Arabic. Traoré admitted pushing her.

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The ruling said there was enough evidence to show antisemitic motives. But the court said a person who committed a crime while in a "delirious state" cannot be tried—even if that state was caused by the habitual use of illegal drugs. Traoré used to smoke heavy quantities of cannabis. Under French law, people cannot be held criminally responsible for actions committed while fully losing their judgment or self-control due to a psychiatric disorder. Traoré has been in a psychiatric hospital since Halimi's death. The head of CRIF, a French Jewish umbrella group, said he came to the plaza to support Halimi's relatives. "Here are people who trust France’s government, France's justice system, and who are confronted with this totally unfair decision," he said, adding that "it's very hard for these people to even grieve." Ilaï Laymond, a 19-year-old Jewish law student protesting in Paris, said, "We feel abandoned." President Emmanuel Macron called for a change in French law.

(Read more anti-Semitism stories.)

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