France’s Chief Rabbi has slammed the decision by Paris prosecutors to excuse from trial the man accused of murdering Jewish Parisian Sarah Halimi, calling the decision a licence “to kill Jews.”
In an open letter to French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet, published by Le Figaro, Rabbi Haim Korsia argued that the decision was “a grave breach of trust” for the country’s judicial system.
Halimi was beaten and thrown to her death from a window in the early hours of April 4, 2017, by a man who was heard shouting “Allahu akhbar” and “Shaitan” (“Satan” in Arabic).
The man accused is Kobili Traore, a criminal drug taker who lived in the same apartment block as Halimi. The police investigation revealed that Halimi had told neighbours she was frightened of Traore, after he called her daughter a “dirty Jew” when she had visited just a few weeks before the murder.
Traore admitted to and apologised for the crime during a preliminary hearing in November, but on December 19 prosecutors decided not to move ahead with a trial of Traore following two psychiatric assessments which claimed that a high cannabis intake had produced an acute delirium, and that he therefore could not be held legally responsible for the murder.
Korsia asked Belloubet to explain “how deliberately taking considerable quantities of drugs exonerates an individual from responsibility?” before going on to point out that if the cannabis “exacerbated his antisemitic impulses, it means these impulses already existed!”
“Should it be inferred from this decision that every drug-addicted individual is licenced to kill Jews?” the Chief Rabbi asked. He called on Belloubet to “heal the wounds” caused by the decision, by “establishing the guilt of a suspect and by imposing a sentence commensurate with the seriousness of the acts committed.”
Meanwhile, in a separate interview with French-language Israeli broadcaster i24 News, Halimi’s brother William Attal accused the judiciary of having “humanised” Traore, pointing out “They forgot that he had lived as a delinquent for 10 years, that he was convicted 22 times on drugs charges.”
Attal said that the rights of the family had not been respected by the investigation. “There was a serious miscarriage of justice, the investigation was nowhere near comprehensive enough,” he said.
“The examining magistrate refused all the requests for an investigation into the murder — all of them.”