French protesters are demanding the trial of a Jewish woman who is not considered criminally responsible

Crowds gathered on Sunday in Paris and other French cities to condemn a decision by the French Supreme Court that the killer of the Jewish woman Sarah Halimi was not criminally liable and therefore could not go to trial.

Thousands of people filled the Trocadero Plaza in Paris, in front of the Eiffel Tower, in response to a call from Jewish associations, anti-Semitic organizations and other groups saying that justice had not been done.

The announcement that the killer would not be sent to trial triggered outrage among the French and international Jewish community.

Halimi, a 65-year-old Jewish woman, died in 2017 after being shot out the window of her Paris apartment by her neighbor, Kobili Traoré, who allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic). Traoré admitted that he pressured her.

The decision of the Court of Cassation, which was announced earlier this month, states that there was sufficient evidence that the document had anti-Semitic motives.

However, the court said that a person who committed a crime while in a “smelly state” could not be sent to trial – even if the state was caused by the usual use of illegal drugs. Traoré used to smoke large amounts of cannabis.

“According to unanimous opinions from various psychiatric experts, at the time of the facts, that man presented a serious foul-smelling condition,” the court said in a statement.

Under French law, people cannot be held criminally liable for acts committed while completely losing judgment or self-control due to a mental disorder.

Traoré has been in a special unit at a psychiatric hospital since Halimi’s death.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for a French law change in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.

“Deciding to take drugs and then ‘go crazy’ should not, in my opinion, remove your criminal responsibility,” Macron said. He also expressed his support for the victim’s family.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti tweeted on Sunday that he will present a bill in late May to include a legal vacuum in French law on the consequences of voluntary drug use.

In accordance with the request of the President of the Republic, the government will present at the end of May, in the Council of Ministers, a bill to combine the legal force in the Sarah Halimi case. This tragic story that has marked us all will advance our rights.

– Eric Dupond-Moretti (@E_DupondM) April 25, 2021


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