Protests have been scheduled in Paris and around the world against the recent decision by the French Court of Cassation to absolve the 2017 murderer of Sarah Halimi in Paris of criminal responsibility because he took cannabis before he killed her.
The demonstration in Paris will take place at the Place Du Trocadero, close to the city center at 14:00 Central European Time, while protests will also be staged in Tel Aviv, London, Rome, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and across other cities in France at the same hour, local time.
The demonstration in Tel Aviv will take place outside the French embassy at 15:00 Israel time.
Halimi’s son and brother who both live in Israel have flown to Paris for the demonstration.
In April 2017, Kobili Traoré, a 27-year-old Muslim man, violently beat Halimi, his 65-year-old Jewish neighbor, while screaming “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) along with antisemitic slogans, before throwing her out of the window of her third-floor apartment to her death.
A lower court ruled in December 2019 that Traore was not criminally responsible for his actions since his due to his intake of cannabis before the attack supposedly compromised his “discernment,” or consciousness.
The Court of Cassation upheld this ruling two weeks ago.
French President Emmanuel Macron called last week for a change in the law to prevent murderers using such an excuse in the future to escape justice, while French Jewish organizations have said they will lobby for such a law.
Ariel Kandel, director of the Qualita organization which assists French immigrants to Israel said that the French court ruling was “an additional reminder that antisemitism still rages in Europe,” and denounced the decision.
“The murderer was completely responsible for his actions – it is unthinkable that he will go free,” said Kandel, pointing out that in France someone who uses cannabis and then causes a fatal car accident would be held responsible for his actions but that the decision on Traore meant that someone could commit murder in the same circumstances and evade justice.
“The decision of the French high court spits in the face of the Jewish community of France and does injury to Jews around the world.”