Date: 16/08/2018
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Paris Muslim accused of killing Jewish woman no longer charged with hate crime

by Verity True

The Times of Israel reports that amidst a rise of violent anti-Semitic attacks in France, a Paris judge has scrapped hate crime charges from the indictment of a murder suspect who has already confessed to killing his Jewish neighbor.

On April 4th, 2017 65-year-old Sarah Halimi, mother of three children and a retired doctor, was beaten, tortured, and thrown to her death from the third-floor window of her apartment in the Belleville district of Paris by Kobili Traore a 28-year-old Muslim from Mali.   

During Halimi’s ordeal, Traore was heard by neighbors to be shouting about Allah and calling her “a devil” in Arabic. Halimi’s daughter also said he had called her (the daughter) a “dirty Jewess” during the period two years before the murder. 

The suspect initially claimed insanity and was hospitalized.

Later, media and government figures, as well as members of the Jewish community, criticized the handling of the crime by the French government for failing to describe the murder as a hate crime or as an act of terrorism. They also criticized the press for not reporting on this crime as an act of anti-Semitism. Five months after the murder French President Emmanuel Macron called for an investigation and subsequently Traore was charged with murder aggravated by racial hatred. 

But the examining magistrate in the trial, which opened last week, dismissed the aggravated hate crime charge before the trial had begun last Wednesday. Traore is pleading temporary insanity, though he has no history of mental illness. The Prosecution will now appeal dismissal of the charge of ‘murder aggravated by racial hatred’. 

The murder occurred months before France’s general election, in which the French political establishment was bracing itself for unprecedented gains for the far-right National Front party. But in the end Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration party only received one-third of the vote, losing to Emmanuel Macron. Many French Jews believe both authorities and the media covered up or ignored the alleged anti-Semitic elements connected to Halimi’s suspected murder to prevent it from becoming fodder for Le Pen’s campaign.

Francis Kalifat, president of the Jewish umbrella group CRIF, told the Le Parisien newspaper that the examining magistrate’s move was “an insult” to Halimi’s memory.

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