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AJC Applauds Convictions and Harsh Sentences for Halimi Killers

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2009-07-12 05:34:40     
American Jewish Committee

AJC today applauded a French court for the conviction and sentencing of the gang responsible for the anti-Semitic kidnapping, torture, and murder of a young Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, in 2006. Ringleader Youssouf Fofana received the maximum life sentence with no possibility of parole for 22 years.

"Justice has been served," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "These thugs kidnapped a Jew because they believed the anti-Semitic myth that all Jews are rich, and they brutally tortured Ilan to death because they hated him. We are grateful to the court for sending a strong message that such monstrous hate crimes have no place in French society."

In January 2006, the 23-year old Halimi was lured from the store where he worked in suburban Paris and kidnapped by Fofana's gang, who attempted to extract a ransom. Fofana said he wanted to kidnap a Jew because "they're loaded with dough," and had told Halimi's family that, if they could not afford the ransom, they should "go and get it from your synagogue." Halimi was held captive for weeks, brutally beaten and burned with cigarettes and acid, and then dumped at a train station, dying of his injuries soon afterwards. At the trial's opening in April, Fofana reportedly shouted, "Allah will prevail."

"Since February 2006, French authorities have correctly labeled this a crime of racial hatred," Harris said. "While this sentencing cannot relieve the terrible pain of Ilan's family, we hope that it can help to prevent such a brutal act from ever taking place again."

AJC France, directed by Valerie Hoffenberg, has closely followed the proceedings and worked to support the Jewish community's efforts to pursue justice for Halimi's family.

Specialized in: American Jewish Committee
URL: http://www.ajc.org
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