Monday, February 18, 2008

Killers of French Jew arrested 

France sends 29 to trial over kidnap and murder of Jewish man

By The Associated Press
Tue., February 19, 2008 Adar1 13, 5768

French judges are sending 29 people to trial for the torture and killing of a young Jewish man two years ago, judicial authorities said Monday.

The 2006 kidnapping, torture and killing of Ilan Halimi revived concerns about anti-Semitism in France.

Authorities found the 23-year-old naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks in the Essonne region south of Paris.

He died on the way to the hospital after being held captive for more than three weeks.

Authorities said 21 of the suspects, including alleged ringleader Youssouf Fofana, would be tried by a youth court, because two of them were minors at the time of the killing in February 2006.

Their trial is expected to be held behind closed doors, and is not expected before next year.

Eight others will be tried by other courts.

Chief suspect Fofana, 27, risks life imprisonment. He faces charges of kidnapping and of acts of torture and murder with religious, racial or ethnic motives. He is also accused of five other attempted kidnappings.

Fofana, a Frenchman of Ivorian descent, fled to Ivory Coast and was arrested there and extradited to France.

Halimi, a resident of a Parisian suburb, was lured by a young woman who entered the shop where he worked and persuaded him to meet her in another suburb, where he was kidnapped by a gang of youths, most of them immigrants.

He was laid to rest at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem exactly a year after the murder in a ceremony attended by hundreds of people.

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