London rally called outside French embassy to protest Sarah Halimi verdict

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London rally called outside French embassy to protest Sarah Halimi verdict

Sunday's event is timed to coincide with rallies across France against a court ruling that said a Jewish woman's killer cannot stand trial

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Sarah Halimi (Courtesy of the Confédération des Juifs de France et des amis d'Israël)
Sarah Halimi (Courtesy of the Confédération des Juifs de France et des amis d'Israël)

Protesters will gather in London this weekend to support the outraged Jewish community of France, where a court ruled the killer of a Jewish schoolteacher cannot stand trial because of the effects of cannabis.

The country’s highest court ruled last week that Kobili Traore was not criminally responsible for the death of Sarah Halimi, 65, because he had succumbed to a “delirious fit” after smoking the drug.

Halimi died four years ago after Traore attacked her in her Paris flat while shouting “Allahu Akbar” and pushed her out of the window of her Paris flat onto the street below.

Last Wednesday the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld rulings by lower courts that her killer could not stand trial because he had been too intoxicated to be responsible for the murder.

It rejected arguments by lawyers representing Halimi’s family that Traore had previously demonstrated antisemitic attitudes.

French president Emmanuel Macron this week called for a change in the law.

“Deciding to take narcotics and then ‘going mad’ should, not in my view, remove your criminal responsibility,” Macron told the newspaper Le Figaro.

This Sunday 25th April, to coincide with demonstrations in France, we will rally outside the Embassy of France in London…

Posted by Campaign Against Antisemitism on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

“But I want to assure the family, relatives of the victim and all fellow citizens of Jewish faith who were awaiting this trial of my warm support and the determination of the Republic to protect them.”

Halimi’s family said it is considering filing a case at the European Court of Human Rights, but last week’s ruling means there is no judicial route remaining in France for Traore to face trial.

He has been held at a psychiatric hospital since his arrest shortly after Halimi died in 2017.

Protests against the ruling organised by Crif, the French Jewish community group, will take place on Sunday in several French cities including Paris and Marseille.

A parallel rally organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism will be held outside the French Embassy in London at 1pm.

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