Ilan Halimi, Lured by a Woman into an Anti-Semitic Deathtrap
“They acted with indescribable cruelty,” the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. “They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight.”
-Paris Police on the death of Ilam Halimi-
A memorial service for Ilan Halimi is scheduled today. Jacques Chirac is planning to attend the memorial on Thursday evening.
The family believes that Ilan (pictured above) was kidnapped and murdered by a gang of Africans called the “Barbarians” because he was a Jew:
“We think there is anti-Semitism in this affair,” Rafi Halimi, Ilan’s uncle, told the press.
“First, because the killers tried to kidnap at least two other Jews, and second, because of what they said on the phone,” Rafi Halimi added. “When we said we didn’t have 500,000 euros to give them they told us to go to the synagogue and get it,” Rafi said. “They also recited verses from the Koran.”
But the Paris public prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, told Parisian Jewish radio on Thursday that “no element of the current investigation could link this murder to an anti-Semitic declaration or action.”
Halimi thought he was going out on a date when he was lured to his death by a woman he had met at his store:
Halimi was lured to his death by a woman he had met in his telephone store. They met up late on the night of January 20 in one of Paris’s southern suburbs, Bagneux, on what he thought was a date.
In order to convince Halimi’s parents their son had been kidnapped, the abductors borrowed a trick from Islamist kidnappers who abduct Westerners in the Middle East: They sent a picture of the young man being threatened by a gun and holding a newspaper to prove the date and time.
More e-mail demands and pictures of Halimi were sent to his parents in subsequent days. The family reported the kidnapping to the Parisian police, who advised them to begin bargaining with their son’s captors.
Both the judge in charge of the investigation, Corinne Goetzmann, and the French attorney general, Pascal Clement, said that a principal motive of Halimi’s attackers was anti-Semitism.
On February 11, four days after the abductors stopped communicating with the family, Halimi was found, still alive, not far from a railway line at Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois, about 15 kilometers south of Bagneux.
He was naked, handcuffed, and bleeding profusely. He was incapable of speaking. His entire body – or “80% of it,” according to police – had been butchered. He died of his wounds on the way to the hospital, just a few minutes after he was discovered.
The woman along with several gang members has been arrested:
According to her lawyer, Audrey L., a retirement home nurse, has been involved in several “honeypot” operations before but had never quite realized what they were all about. All in all, seven members (six men and one woman) of the gang have been charged with criminal offenses.
The French attorney general believes Halimi was targeted “because he was Jewish and thus, as a Jew, presumed to be rich.” One teenage gang member admitted having put out a cigarette on Halimi’s face “because he didn’t like Jews.”
It seems, however, that the Barbarians’ anti-Semitism went much further. Mr. Fofana and other core gang members may have been close to a local mosque. According to one witness, verses from the Koran were recited while Halimi was tortured.
Ilan was laid to rest today. The suspected ringleader Youssouf Fofana (above) was captured and turned over to French officials in the Ivory Coast on Tuesday, February, 21, 2006.
A scene from outside the memorial service…
Policemen prevent people from approaching a Paris synagogue as the room is already overcrowded, February 23, 2006. French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin attended a ceremony in memory of Jewish man Ilan Halimi, 23. Halimi was found tortured and burnt south of Paris after being held for three weeks by a gang demanding a large ransom. He died of his injuries shortly afterwards. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)
No Pasaran has the latest on how the French press is reacting to this story.