French Jews fume over omission of hate crime from indictment of Jewish woman’s killer


PARIS (JTA) — Leaders of French Jewry strong criticized the absence of a mention of hate crime in the indictment of a man from Paris who in April killed his Jewish neighbor while shouting about Allah.

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish community, used uncharacteristically harsh language in criticizing the indictment for murder filed by prosecutors Wednesday against Kobili Traore, who confessed to killing 66-year-old Sarah Halimi on April 4 and throwing her dying body from the third-story window of her apartment.

“CRIF is astonished that the anti-Semitic character of the murder was omitted,” read the statement of the organization, which over the past two weeks presented on the homepage of its website a running meter with the number of days that it took authorities to file an indictment. CRIF has accused authorities of covering up the slaying of Halimi and of silencing it, along with mainstream media.

Traore, who has no history of mental illness, was initially hospitalized in a psychiatric institution as per his insanity plea. He knew that Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher, was Jewish and had called her daughter “dirty Jew” in the elevator two years ago, the daughter told French Jewish media.

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The Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism joined CRIF’s criticism over the indictment.

“The personality of the criminal, who shouted ‘Allah hu akbar [Arabic for “Allah is the greatest”] as Islamo-Fascists do, his modus operandi, and his choice of a victim he knew was Jewish affirm our thesis and certitude: This crime is incontestably anti-Semitic,” the Bureau, a nongovernmental watchdog group, wrote in a statement.

Following the indictment of the 27-year-old defendant, Brigitte Kuster, a lawmaker for The Republicans party in the French lower house, filed a critical query on the case to Interior Minister Gérard Collomb.

Halimi, she wrote, was “tortured and murdered by an individual with premeditated anti-Semitic intentions which serve as evidence, even if the judiciary has so far ignored this,” Kuster wrote. She demanded Collomb speak out and confirm the presumed anti-Semitic nature of the crime.