In protest rallies, thousands of Jews in France and beyond demand “justice for Sarah Halimi” | JTA


PARIS (JTA) – Thousands of demonstrators, many of them Jews, gathered in the French capital to protest the court’s decision not to try a man who killed his Jewish neighbor while shouting about Allah.

Under the banner of “Justice for Sarah Halimi,” Sunday’s rally in Place du Trocadéro overlooking the Eiffel Tower reflected the widespread outrage of many French Jews at the April 14 ruling by their country’s highest court. He confirmed lower court findings that this woman’s killer, Kobili Traore, was unfit to stand trial for his actions on April 4, 2017 in Paris because his marijuana use had made him temporarily psychotic.

Critics of the move cited the apparent calm of Traore, an immigrant from Mali who was 27 when he killed Halimi, a doctor in his sixties. Traore, who according to a lower court was targeting Halimi because she was Jewish, called her a demon as he punched her in her third-floor apartment, which he broke into.

He then threw her out the window and shouted, “A lady fell from the window!” to cover up his actions, witnesses said. He left the scene, allegedly to escape, and was arrested in a nearby street.

Others argue that even though Traore was psychotic, he was criminally responsible when he took the drugs that made him psychotic and should therefore be tried. He has no documented history of psychiatric problems.

During the rally in Paris, which took place under strict security conditions in a cordoned off enclosure installed on the Place du Trocadéro, the CRIF broadcast a video on a giant screen in which the French chief rabbi Haim Korsia called for another “trial. of the facts ”, even if it ends without a sentence.

Sunday’s rally is the first time in decades that large numbers of French Jews have gathered to protest against French state bodies or actions.

Jacques Essebag, a Franco-Jewish comedian known by the stage name Arthur, said in a video message that he had “decided to start using druhs because in France you can do whatever you want, even kill your neighbor. if you don’t like. her, if you use drugs. He then added: “What happened to this country.”

The event featured numerous flags of Israel, France and those of the far-right Jewish Defense League.

The video message from Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a socialist politician, prompted whistles and boos from many protesters during the event.

Organized by the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, the rally is “to show our astonishment at a decision in accordance with the law, but not with justice,” wrote the CRIF.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he will advance legislation to prevent criminals from avoiding trial by using a madness defense for actions committed under the influence of drugs.

Some Jewish organizations have used harsh language, including the conservative Europe-Israel group, about the case, calling the Halimi trial a “new Dreyfus trial.” This is a reference to the charges of anti-Semitic treason brought against a Franco-Jewish soldier in 1894, and which, to this day, believe that many show that French society and European societies in general are too anti-Semitic to allow Jews to s ‘really integrate.

In addition to the rally in Paris, other protest rallies are planned for Sunday in Marseille, Strasbourg and Lyon. Overseas, rallies are planned in Washington DC, Los Angeles and Miami in the United States as well as Rome, Italy. In London, Tel Aviv and The Hague, rallies will be held outside French embassies in those cities, organizers said.

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