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May 15, 2020 12:28 pm

Accused Killers of French Jewish Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll Will Face Trial on Antisemitic Murder Charges

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A button on display at a march in Paris attended by thousands of people in memory of murdered Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll. Photo: Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes.

The two men accused of the brutal murder of a French Jewish Holocaust survivor in her Paris apartment in 2018 are to face trial on charges of homicide aggravated by antisemitism.

According to news outlet Le Parisien on Thursday, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office has referred the case of the two suspected killers of 85-year-old Mireille Knoll to France’s principal criminal court, the court of assizes, after more than two years of deliberations.

The accused pair — Yacine Mihoub, 30, who was a neighbor of Knoll’s and knew her personally, and Alex Carrimbacus, 24, who became friends with Mihoub when they met in prison — visited her apartment on March 23, 2018, with the aim of robbing her.

Forensic investigations later revealed that Knoll had been stabbed 11 times in the back, throat and stomach. The assailants then tried to set fire to her corpse, leaving her remains badly charred.

The murder of Knoll — a survivor of the July 1942 Vel d’Hiv roundup of French Jews by the Nazis and their French collaborators — caused an uproar in France. Knoll’s killing came less than one year after the murder of another Jewish woman, 65-year-old Sarah Halimi, by one of her neighbors in a public housing project in eastern Paris.

But while the Halimi case has stalled because of the insistence of prosecutors’ that her accused murderer, 29-year-old Kobili Traore, was not responsible for his crime because of his heavy use of cannabis, no such obstacles appear to have been introduced in the Knoll case.

This contrast was duly noted on Friday by Francis Kalifat — head of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF — who tweeted: “I welcome the request of the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office for a trial for the antisemitic murder of Mireille Knoll. I think of her family as I think of Sarah Halimi’s family, who is waiting for the Paris Court of Appeal to send her murderer back to court.”

Gilles-William Goldnadel — who has served as a lawyer to both the Knoll and Halimi families — told Le Parisien that although “justice has not always been done in this type of case, this time the public prosecutor’s office saw clearly and understood that Mireille Knoll was killed because she was a defenseless old woman and because her killers did not like Jews.”


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