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February 5, 2020 3:08 pm

Bold Sign Campaign in Paris Highlights Travesty of Justice in Antisemitic Murder of Sarah Halimi

avatar by Ben Cohen

One of the signs posed around Paris calling for justice for Sarah Halimi. Photo: Twitter.

Signs condemning the travesty of justice in the case of the antisemitic murder of Sarah Halimi —  the 65-year-old French Jewish woman tortured and thrown to her death from a third-floor window in April 2017 — have multiplied across Paris over the last two weeks, French media outlets reported on Wednesday.

Based on the graphic campaign in France in 2019 against “femicide”  — the murder of women by their male partners or former partners — the ad-hoc signs in several Paris locations highlighted the horrific manner in which Halimi died as well as the denial of justice that followed.

One sign read: “Justice for Sarah Halimi. The killing of women: Enough. The killing of Jews: Enough too.”

Another said: “Sarah Halimi: I feel pain, I feel shame, I weep.”

A Twitter account — Collages pour Sarah Halimi — has provided daily updates on spread of the signs. On Wednesday, the newspaper Le Figaro tracked down the apparent author of the signs, a 57-year-old activist who gave her name as Sophie.

Referring to her past involvement in the movement against femicide, Sophie told the paper she believed Halimi had died because she was a relatively old woman who had no means of defending herself and who had already been harassed previously.”

The Halimi case “made me think of all these assaults that go unpunished,” Sophie continued. “Victims of feminicides often file complaints several times but are never taken seriously.”

Accused killer Kobili 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 — a convicted petty criminal who regularly attended the radical Mosquée Omar in Paris — after he insulted her visiting daughter as a “dirty Jewess” a few weeks before the killing.

Prosecutors based their long-awaited decision on Dec. 19 to excuse Traore from trial on two psychiatric assessments that claimed his intake of cannabis on the night of the killing had resulted in acute delirium, and that therefore he could not be held responsible for murdering Halimi.

In the wake of that decision, Halimi’s brother, William Attal, angrily denounced the French judicial system.

“They forgot that he [Traore] had lived as a delinquent for 10 years, that he was convicted 22 times on drugs charges,” Attal said. “There was a serious miscarriage of justice, the investigation was nowhere near comprehensive enough.”

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