February 23, 2020

Paris Court Says Suspect in Slaying of Jewish Woman Won’t Stand Trial

Photo from Pixabay.

An appeals court in Paris ruled on Dec. 19 that the man who allegedly killed a Jewish woman in 2017 is unable to stand trial, the Times of Israel reports.

Authorities say the suspect, 29-year-old Kobili Traore, beat to death Sarah Halimi, 65, and then threw her out of a window. He is also alleged to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is most great”) while attacking her and yelling, “I have killed the sheitan [demon]!”

Traore is Muslim; Halimi, a kindergarten teacher, was a neighbor. The slaying occurred on April 4, 2017.

The court ruled that Traore could not stand trial because he was under the influence of marijuana at the time and thus was not in control of his actions, although the court acknowledged that anti-Semitism appeared to be a motivating factor behind his actions. The court sentenced Traore to be hospitalized or undergo drug rehabilitation, and then be released in weeks.

Francis Szpiner, who represents Halimi’s children, told the Jewish Chronicle that she was outraged over the ruling.

“Starting today, anyone who has taken illegal substances will be able to walk free, exonerated from any criminal responsibility,” Szpiner said.

Jewish groups similarly expressed anger over the ruling.

“Shocking and unacceptable that the murderer of Sarah Halimi, killed in her own apartment by a neighbor motivated by #antiSemitism, will not be held responsible for this act of hate because he was apparently on drugs,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted.

The American Jewish Committee similarly tweeted, “This shameful, outrageous, and despicable decision will forever be a stain on France’s judicial system and casts serious doubt on its willingness to condemn anti-Semitism and uphold the rights of French Jews.”

Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France President Francis Kalifat said in a statement, “Is an anti-Semitic crime the only crime that is excused by the judiciary because of massive drug-taking, whereas in all other crimes the judiciary would consider that to be an aggravating circumstance?”