Nidra Poller: “Tender French Justice for the Gang of Barbarians”

Ilan Halimi verdict. If not for Poller, the West would never have been alerted to this savage act of unfathomable Islamic Jew hatred in France.

Tender French
Justice for the Gang of Barbarians

Paris July 11, 2009

Nidra Poller

In a show of
disrespect for the family of Ilan Halimi, victim of the most
atrocious anti-Semitic crime committed in France since World War II,
the court announced the verdict after 10 PM on Friday night—the
Sabbath—on the eve of the July 14
holiday weekend. Emma, the young lady who lured 23 year-old Halimi
into the cruel trap was sentenced to nine years in prison. Youssouf
Fofana, the “Brain of the Barbarians,” who admits he finished off
his Jewish victim, after 24 days of torture, stabbing him five times
and setting him aflame, gets “life” in prison (with a possibility
of parole after 22 years). The other 25 accomplices or accessories
were given jail terms ranging from acquittal to 18 years. The motive
of anti-Semitism was retained for some of the defendants, but did not
incur the corresponding ten-year increase in jail terms. Two men who
played a key role in the Halimi kidnapping are on the loose because
the police couldn’t persuade any of the defendants to cough up
their names.

The two-month trial
was held behind closed doors
in juvenile
court because two of the defendants were just under 18 when the crime
was committed. Ruth Halimi, the victim’s mother, pleaded in vain
for an open hearing. In January 2006 she had vainly entreated
investigators to recognize the anti-Semitic motive of her son’s
jailers. For 24 days the police followed false trails, overlooked
clues, missed chances to nab the mastermind, and bungled negotiations
for unrealistic ransom demands that were little more than a pretext
for the torture inflicted on Ilan Halimi. The photo sent to the
family the day after his disappearance tells it all: Ilan’s face is
totally plastered with thick silver duct tape. His eyes and mouth are
sealed shut, leaving a small hole for his broken nose.

He was kept
naked–first in an unheated apartment, then in a boiler room–fed
liquids through a straw, forced to eliminate in a plastic bag,
beaten, kicked, pummeled… No one will ever know the extent of his
ordeal. Playing on the nuances of French law that supposedly
establishes the exact degree of participation of each individual in a
collective crime, defense lawyers portrayed their clients as lost
sheep haplessly involved in a seemingly normal short-term business
enterprise…even when it became obvious that the whole thing was
bungled and only the torture was real.

Late Friday
afternoon, t
he press, alerted by rumors
that the verdict would be pronounced before nightfall. We stood for
hours in the halls of the Palais de Justice before being admitted
into the antiquated courtroom. The atmosphere was weirdly festive, as
defense lawyers chatted with each other and fussed over their
clients, half-hidden from our view behind a glassed-in cubicle. It
was after 10 PM when the presiding judge finally announced—in a
barely audible voice– prison terms for the 27 defendants, from life
to 18 years, to 15, 13, 11 and by even increments all the way to six
months suspended sentence and, for two of them, acquittal. Most
prisoners are released in France after serving half their terms.

The whole thing has
been hushed up and tucked away under front page stories about holiday
traffic jams and the Tour de France bicycle race.

Last week Maître Francis Szpiner, representing the Halimi family,
expressed his misgivings about the indulgent recommendations to the
jury of the Avocat Général—a sort of voice of the people and the
Bench. Interviewed Friday night after the lenient verdict was
announced, Szpiner called upon the Minister of Justice to appeal (the
plaintiffs do not have the right to appeal). Several Jewish
organizations have called for a gathering Monday night in front of
the Justice Ministry at Place Vendôme…at the same place where
enraged Islamists shouting “Death to Israel, Death to the Jews”
made a show of force in January.

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