France’s Chief Rabbi Fears Sarah Halimi Murder Trial Decision Amounts to ‘License to Kill Jews’
France’s chief rabbi has slammed the “tragic” and “grotesque” decision of Paris prosecutors to excuse from trial the alleged antisemitic murderer of Sarah Halimi — the 65-year-old Jewish woman viciously beaten and thrown out of the window of her own apartment in April 2017.
In an open letter to French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet, Rabbi Haim Korsia argued that the decision not to try Halimi’s accused killer, Kobili Traore, on the grounds of criminal irresponsibility caused by his heavy cannabis intake marked “a grave breach of trust” for the country’s judicial system.
Korsia’s letter — published on Wednesday in the daily newspaper Le Figaro — urged the French judiciary 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.”
Traore — who lived in the same public housing project in eastern Paris as Halimi — broke into her apartment during the early morning hours of April 4, 2017.
Terrified neighbors who alerted police after hearing Halimi’s cries for help reported that Traore had shouted the words, “Allahu akhbar,” and, “Shaitan” (Arabic for “Satan”), as he rained kicks and punches on his victim, before picking up her bruised body and throwing her out of the window.
Police investigations later revealed that Halimi had told relatives that she was scared of Traore, who insulted her visiting daughter as a “dirty Jewess” a few weeks before the killing.
Prosecutors based their long-awaited decision on Dec. 19 on two psychiatric assessments of Traore that claimed his intake of cannabis had resulted in acute delirium, and that therefore he could not be held responsible for murdering Halimi — a crime he admitted to and apologized for during a preliminary hearing in November.
In his letter, Korsia encouraged Belloubet to explain “how deliberately taking considerable quantities of drugs exonerates an individual from responsibility?”
Korsia went on to point out that if it was correct that smoking cannabis “exacerbated his antisemitic impulses, it means these impulses already existed!”
The chief rabbi then asked: “Should it be inferred from this decision that every drug-addicted individual is licensed to kill Jews?”
In a separate interview this week with the French-language Israeli broadcaster i24 News, William Attal — Halimi’s brother — accused the French judiciary of having “humanized” her killer.
“They forgot that he [Traore] had lived as a delinquent for 10 years, that he was convicted 22 times on drugs charges,” Attal said.
Attal added that the rights of Halimi’s family had not been respected during the investigation into the murder.
“There was a serious miscarriage of justice, the investigation was nowhere near comprehensive enough,” Attal asserted.
“The examining magistrate refused all the requests for an investigation into the murder — all of them,” he emphasized.