Thursday, February 21st | 16 Adar I 5779

July 21, 2017 3:39 pm

My Sister Was Murdered by an Antisemite, Not a Madman, Declares Sarah Halimi’s Brother

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Sarah Halimi was tortured and murdered by an Islamist who broke into her Paris apartment in April. Photo: Halimi family.

The brother of Sarah Halimi — the French Jewish pensioner brutally tortured and murdered in her apartment by an antisemitic neighbor in April — has urged the French authorities to stop treating the slaying as the act of a mentally-ill individual and recognize the antisemitic motive instead.

“Every day that passes that the law waits to recognize this is an insult to the memory of my sister Sarah,” William Attal told the French Jewish weekly Actualite Juive.

Halimi’s murderer Kobili Traore, who is in his late 20s, is currently in custody awaiting a psychiatric evaluation. On the night of April 4, he broke into Halimi’s apartment and brutally assaulted the 66-year-old widow, shouting Islamist and antisemitic slogans. By the time police were able to take control of the situation, Traore had thrown Halimi, still alive, from a third-floor window.

“During the interrogation with the investigating judge, he (Traore) responded in a very coherent, precise manner,” Attal told Acutalite Juive. “During this meeting, he also had the presence of mind to conceal his radicalization and to seek to exonerate himself from all responsibility.”

Attal continued: “During his three months in psychiatric hospital, the murderer had time to prepare his defense. (This is) one proof among many others that he is not mad. All the testimonies of the neighbors who witnessed and heard what happened concur. This was a radical Islamic murder.”

Attal said that justice would be done once it was recognized that his sister was murdered “because she belonged to the Jewish people.”

“When the antisemitic character of this act is recognized, our struggle will cease and we will continue to mourn away from the cameras,” Attal stated.

Attal thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for mentioning Sarah Halimi during his speech when, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he paid tribute to the 13,000 Jews deported from Paris by the Nazis in 1942 at a special 75th anniversary commemoration ceremony in Paris last Sunday.

Praising the “courageous president of the republic,” Attal said, “My sister Sarah was an exceptional being. She spent her life helping others. She deserved the honor.”

Macron’s words had brought great comfort to a “bruised” family, Attal noted.

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