A judge in Paris scrapped hate crime charges from the indictment of a Muslim murderer, Kobili Traore (right), who confessed to torturing and killing his 65-year-old Jewish neighbor because he hated Jews. The Paris Prosecutor’s office said it would appeal the dismissal of the aggravated element of a hate crime. The move comes amid a rise in reported violent anti-Semitic attacks in France.
JTA Traore, 27, who has no history of mental illness, initially was 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” two years ago, the daughter told French Jewish media.
On April 4, 2016, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, was fatally attacked at night in her home on Vaucouleurs Street, in Paris’ 11th arrondissement by a Muslim who broke into her apartment. He tortured her while vilifying his victim as a “dirty Jew” and as “a Satan.” Then he threw her out of the third-floor window, while chanting “Allahu Akbar.”
The charge of murder aggravated by racial hatred was excluded from what is now the indictment against Traore by the examining magistrate — a function designed to oversee prosecutors and intercept flawed indictments before they form the basis of an active trial.
Francis Kalifat, president of the Jewish umbrella group CRIF, told Le Parisien daily that the examining magistrate’s move was “an insult” to Halimi’s memory.
In the Halimi case, Traore was heard shouting “Allah Akbar” and calling her “a devil” in Arabic. Halimi’s daughter said he had called the daughter a “dirty Jewess” in the building two years before the murder.
But the examining magistrate in Traore’s trial, which opened this week, dismissed the aggravated hate crime charge before the trial actually began, Le Parisien reported Wednesday. Traore is pleading temporary insanity, though he has no history of mental illness.
For months after the slaying of the 65-year-old Jewish physician, leaders of French Jewry urged authorities to include the aggravated element of a hate crime in the draft indictment against Traore. They finally agreed in September, but apparently changed their minds.
The Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism joined CRIF’s criticism of the indictment.
“The personality of the criminal, who shouted ‘Allahu Akbar” [Arabic for “Our God is greater”], his modus operandi, and his choice of a victim he knew was Jewish affirm our thesis and certitude: This crime is incontestably anti-Semitic hatred,” the bureau, a nongovernmental watchdog group, wrote in a statement.