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French judge rules Jewish woman’s killer not criminally liable because he was high

Sarah Halimi

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ
(JTA)
— A Muslim man who killed his Jewish neighbor in Paris while shouting about Allah is probably not criminally responsible for his actions because he had smoked marijuana beforehand, a French judge ruled.

The preliminary ruling in the trial of Kobili Traore for the 2017 murder of Sarah Halimi came was presented from a judge of inquiry — a magistrate that in the French justice system is tasked with deciding whether indicted defendants should in fact stand trial.

Francis Khalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, called the ruling “unsurprising but hardly justifiable.” He said his group and others would appeal in hopes of bringing Traore to trial.

He could be hospitalized for treatment of his psychotic lapses or made to attend a drug rehabilitation program, or he could be released.

Khalifat’s op-ed published recently on the CRIF website follows a series of protests over perceived delays in Traore’s trial and the efforts, including by judges, that CRIF and others have condemned as attempts to prevent a murder trial.

Sammy Ghozlan, a former police commissioner and founder of France’s Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in May that the handling of the Halimi case has made him “no longer have full confidence that anti-Semitic hate crimes in France are handled properly.”

Traore pummeled Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher, for an hour as police stood outside the woman’s door, according to reports. He shouted about Allah and called her a “demon” before throwing her to her death. Traore had called Halimi’s daughter “dirty Jewess” two years before killing the mother, the daughter has said.

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