Ilan Halimi Murder Trial Appeal Seeks Harsher Sentences
In a rare move, French prosecutors may appeal their own successful conviction of 14 gang members who were found guilty of the 2006 torture and murder of Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish cell phone salesman, in a Paris suburb. According to Time, prosecutors may appeal to seek a harsher penalty than what the 14 individuals--who were part of a larger coterie of 21--received in sentencing on July 10. From Time:
Hundreds of people gathered outside France's Justice Ministry Monday evening to hail the decision by French authorities to re-try 14 of the 27 people convicted of the abduction and brutal 2006 murder of cell phone salesman Ilan Halimi. Though the verdict announced July 10 handed out stiff sentences to the leaders of the gang, Halimi's family, their supporters, and Jewish groups across the nation were outraged that 14 defendants got lighter punishments than prosecutors had requested. In response, Justice Minister MichÈle Alliot-Marie announced Monday evening that she'd ordered prosecutors to appeal any sentence that was less than the state had sought.
Outcry over Halimi's murder rippled through the international Jewish community in 2006 because, according to Sammy Ghozlan, president of the National Office of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism as reported by Time, the incident was the first expressly anti-Semitic murder in France since the Nazi occupation in WWII.
Halimi's murder helped awaken the French public to the dangers this trend poses, not just to Jews but to society overall. The neighborhood where he was killed became the site of a rally against anti-Semitism; others were held nationwide. The sentencing and the Justice Ministry's appeal are signs that law-enforcement institutions also are waking up to the danger, even if the perceived leniency toward some defendants still raises questions. This comes too late for Ilan Halimi, but not a moment too soon for France.