Crowds of thousands in Paris and throughout France, Israel and England gathered to protest the recent French judicial decision that the killer of a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi Hy”d, was not criminally responsible and will not stand trial due to his drug use.
In Paris, France, at the “Justice for Sarah Halimi” march held in the square in front of the Eiffel Tower, they held signs reading ” “for Sarah Halimi we won’t be quiet,” and “Without Justice, No Republic.”
The rally was organized by the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, to “show our astonishment at a decision that conforms to the law, but not to justice,” the CRIF said, according to the Times of Israel.
Robert Ejnes, the executive director of CRIF, French Jewish umbrella group, said he came to support Halimi’s relatives.
“I think they are like the French people – they’re angry and don’t understand at all,” he said. “Here are people who trust France’s government, France’s justice system, and who are confronted with this totally unfair decision. The killer is recognized as a killer, is recognized as being antisemitic but he won’t be tried. It’s simply unacceptable and it’s very hard for these people to even grieve.”
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has said a street in the city will be named after Halimi.
Rallies were also held in the French cities of Marseille, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lyon.
In the United Kingdom, a protest was held outside the French Embassy in London.
In Israel, protests were held in Yerushalayim and outside the French embassy in Tel Aviv.
“Sarah Halimi was murdered for clearly anti-Semitic motivations, for the sole reason that she was a Jew,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat said. “This was a despicable murder that harmed not only the victim herself and her family, but also the entire Jewish community’s sense of security.”
Halimi, a 65 year-old former doctor, was the mother of three adult children who lived alone in her Paris apartment after her husband passed away. She was the only Jew in her building.
The decision was met with outrage and accusations that the French criminal justice of looking the other way regarding hate crimes against Jews, especially when there is a religious motive.
The court determined that Kobili Traoré, then 27, who had smoked copious amount of marijuana prior to the 2017 murder, was delirious at the time he killed Halimi. He has been held in a psychiatric hospital since he was arrested for the murder.
“According to unanimous opinions of different psychiatry experts, that man was presenting at the time of the facts a severe delirious state,” the the Court of Cassation’s Supreme Court of Appeals said, according to EuroNews.
According to French law, someone who is suffering loss of self-control due to a psychological condition cannot be held criminally responsible.
The ruling was met with scorn; marijuana is a drug that is notorious for causing laziness to those under its influence, not rage and violence. Furthermore, Traoré, who had no history of psychological issues, was overheard shouting “Allahu Akbar” while beating Halimi and referring to her as an monster creature found in Islamic legend.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Morett have said they will find a way to rectify the gap in the law and make people criminally responsible for their actions regardless of drug consumption.