France’s justice minister said she would not intervene in the trial of a killer whom French Jews said should be charged with a hate crime.
The minister, Nicole Belloubet, cited the constitutional principle of separation of powers at the beginning of a meeting she had with the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, Francis Kalifat, and two of his deputies, CRIF said in a statement Tuesday.
The meeting was about the April 4 slaying of Sarah Halimi, a physician and teacher in her 60s. A neighbours Kobili Traore, hit her and threw her out the window of her third-story apartment in Paris.
Traore prayed for Allah during the incident, which he has admitted perpetrating but maintains was the result of temporary insanity. He has no record of mental illness. Traore had called Halimi’s daughter a “dirty Jew” in the elevator of her mother’s building, the daughter said.
Kalifat and many other leaders of the Jewish community in France said Traore’s behavior suggests the killing of Halimi was the result of an anti-Semitic hate crime and demanded he be prosecuted accordingly. However, an indictment filed against him did not mention anti-Semitism or any other aggravating element. CRIF has called this a cover-up.
Belloubet said she empathizes with Halimi’s relatives and is following the trial closely, but that she would not intervene, the CRIF statement said.
On July 16, French President Emmanuel Macron referenced the Halimi affair after being urged publicly to do so during a speech by Kalifat. Macron said the judiciary should “make clear the truth” in the case “despite the murderer’s denials.”