Jewish Human Rights Group Calls on New French Justice Minister to Treat Sarah Halimi Murder as ‘Hate Crime Terrorism’
A prominent Jewish human rights group has appealed to the newly-appointed French justice minister to treat the murder of the Paris Jewish pensioner Sarah Halimi as an antisemitic crime.
“Madam Minister, does it take not even the murder of a Jew qua Jew – as in the case of Dr. Sarah Halimi – to be recognized as an act of antisemitism? asked Shimon Samuels, Director of International Relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), in a letter to Nicole Belloubet, who was appointed to head the justice ministry by President Emmanuel Macron on June 28.
“Further procrastination in addressing the murder of Jews as if they were simply targets of the insane or the greedy will register as indifference to their fate,” Samuels said. “The perpetrator (of Halimi’s murder) must be arraigned, charged and a date set for his trial without further delay.”
Halimi’s killer, 27 year-old Malian immigrant Kobili Traore, is currently in hospital awaiting a psychiatric evaluation. Despite reportedly having no known history of mental instability, if Traore is deemed mentally unfit, he is likely to escape criminal responsibility for Halimi’s torture and murder.
Samuels called for an end “to the culture of apology that treats French Islamist perpetrators as psychiatric cases rather than hate crime terrorists.” Halimi’s ordeal, which lasted for over an hour, began in the early hours of April 4, when Traore broke into her apartment, beat her savagely while shouting Islamist slogans, and then tossed her from a third-floor window.
Also highlighted in Samuels’ letter were other instances of brutal antisemitic violence in France that shared common characteristics with Halimi’s murder – among them the kidnapping and murder of her namesake Ilan Halimi in January 2006, by a gang who had set out to hold a “wealthy Jew” for ransom, and the dismissal of the charge of antisemitism in the 2014 case of a young Jewish couple taken prisoner in their own home, beaten and – in the case of the wife – raped.
“Media silence, the lack of an indictment and the very thought of dismissal by the investigating magistrate, is an abuse of the human rights of Jewish victims of antisemitism and an encouragement to further Jihadist terrorism,” Samuels warned.