The photo is worthy of the name of the magazine whose cover it adorns: “Shock” or “Choc” in French. It shows a man whose head has been wrapped in duct tape. His face is completely covered except for a small space that has been left for his nose. The nose is bloodied. The man’s hands are bound in front of him, likewise with tape. A key chain has been hung on his fingers: perhaps to help identify him or perhaps as a subtle threat to his family or friends. The man is seated in front of an orange and purple drape, evidently to hide his surroundings. A copy of the Parisian daily Le Parisien has been propped up on his arms in front of his chest, thus indicating the date. Emerging from off frame, a gloved-hand holds a gun pressed against the man’s temple. The man in the photo is Ilan Halimi: the 23-year-old French Jew who was kidnapped, tormented, and killed by a self-styled “gang of barbarians” in the Parisian banlieue in early 2006.
PARIS (JTA) -- A French magazine featuring a handcuffed Jewish murder victim on its cover was ordered removed from sales racks.
The photo of the 23-year-old Halimi was taken by his kidnappers, a gang called the Barbarians, and sent to the victim’s family as part of a threat demanding ransom money. Not long afterward Halimi was found naked, bound and beaten to the point of death beside subway tracks near Paris in February 2006. He died a short time later.
In the photo Halimi’s face is covered with silver masking tape, with an opening for air left around his bloodied nose. His hands are bound, and the arm of one kidnapper can be seen holding a black pistol to his head.
The gang is now on trial for kidnapping and murdering Halimi. Some of the 27 suspects, including leader Youssouf Fofana, also are accused of committing the crime from anti-Semitic motives.
NY Times reporter Meg Bortin wrote last week: "In the two and a half weeks since 27 people went on trial [in Paris] for the brutal 2006 kidnapping, torture and killing of a young Jewish man, little has filtered out about the proceedings." Worse still, the little that has emerged indicates the government and law enforcement did everything in their power to hide and obscure the Jew hatred motivation of this crime by these Muslims.
Despite the sensational nature of the case and the serious issues it has raised — from the rise of anti-Semitism in some sectors of French society to the way the police handled the investigation — the French are essentially unable to follow the courtroom drama because of a law that bans the public and the media from trials that involve minors. …
Missing … is a public engagement with the troubling issues that were raised by the horrifying nature of the crime, in which Ilan Halimi, 23, was kidnapped, bound in tape, hidden in sordid conditions, beaten, slashed, burned and finally thrown into the street after 24 days, only to die of his wounds before reaching a hospital.
“I find it abnormal that the trial is being held behind closed doors,” his mother, Ruth Halimi, said during a break in the trial. She said the defendants were displaying a casual attitude that she found shocking. “The trial should have been held in public,” she said, “so that everyone could know what took place.”
The law mandating that the trial be closed applies to defendants who were under 18 at the time of the crime, even if they are no longer minors. In this case, two of the accused were 17 when Mr. Halimi was kidnapped. Only they can ask that the secrecy be lifted, and they did not do so.
Lawyers on both sides of the case voiced regret.
“The culture of secrecy has no place in a democracy,” said Daphné Pugliesi, who is representing Cédric Birot Saint-Yves, who has been charged with being one of Mr. Halimi’s “jailers.” Ms. Pugliesi asserted that the aim of a criminal trial was “for society to understand the reasons why a grave crime like this one was committed.”
…As a result of the media ban, virtually nothing will be known soon about what is said by the accused — 18 men and 9 women, all French nationals aged 20 to 35 — or the 162 witnesses and 50 experts who are expected to testify before the trial is to conclude on July 10.
…When the trial began on April 29, reporters were allowed into the courtroom for a few hours — long enough to hear [Youssouf Fofana, now 28,] shout “Allah Akbar,” God is Great, and declare his date of birth as Feb. 13, 2006, the day Mr. Halimi was found dying alongside railroad tracks in a suburb south of Bagneux.
…On May 12, according to the Observateur blog, the presiding judge, Nadia Ajjan, appointed two new lawyers to represent Mr. Fofana because of the frequent absence from court of his original attorneys: Emmanuel Ludot, who helped defend Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2004, and Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who is married to the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal and has defended several radical Islamists.
One of the issues debated since the crime took place is the police’s handling of Mr. Halimi’s kidnapping. [His mother, Ruth Halimi,] asserts in “24 Days,” a scathing book published last month, that the elite Criminal Brigade bungled the case by imposing secrecy during the kidnapping and by missing several opportunities to arrest Mr. Fofana, who made two trips to Ivory Coast while Mr. Halimi was being held.
…Mr. Halimi was kidnapped on Jan. 20, 2006, just weeks after rioting erupted across France in low-income suburbs. Many of the rioters were young people of North African or black African origin, and many were Muslim.Mrs. Halimi said the anti-Semitic aspect of her son’s kidnapping made it all the more imperative for the world to know what was said at the trial.
I covered this act of depraved Islamic Jew hatred here, scroll: Ilan Halimi: Islamic Jew Hatred in France. Halimi's homemade concentration camp and the inconceivable horrors that were suffered by this French Jew who was chosen by Islam's soldiers for unimaginable torture, were blacked out by the corrupt media aligned with jihad force. They covered up the religious aspects of this depraved barbarity. Law enforcement did as well. It was another brutal Islamic slaughter of a defenseless Jew. The reliable witness who broke the true story back in February 2006 and took it to the world was Nidra Poller. It was how I met her.
Ilan Halimi's Muslim torturers/murderers phoned the family on several occasions during the period Ilan was held hostage and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Koran, while Ilan’s tortured screams could be heard in the background.
23 people participated in torturing Ilan. Another 20 were involved indirectly. The custodian of the building gave them the key to an apartment where they said they wanted to "keep someone."
Three weeks of unimaginable torture. Three weeks. So many clues. So many guilty animals partaking in the continuing torture in their "homemade concentration camp."
The screams must have been loud because the torture was especially atrocious: the thugs cut bits off the flesh of the young man, they cut his fingers and ears, they burned him with acid, and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him on fire.
Horrible tortures. Horrible torturers. One of the torturers would go to work at a TV station everyday and come back and partake in the torture. The girls who lured young men. They knew he had been kidnapped. They knew Yosef (the leader of the Barbarians) was extremely violent. They knew Ilan was still in his hands three weeks later. All they had to do was make an anonymous phone call to the police. No one would have known. They did not do it. No neighbor thought to say to the police that something strange was going on in this building.
The police told the family not to say a word. The Jewish community was not warned when prior attempts to kidnap Jewish men had failed. The Jewish community was not warned before the successful attempt.
Even one member of the gang who dropped out of the gang because he was shocked by their violence did not call the police.
These neighborhoods are not ghettos. They are not sordid. Not squalid.
When Ilan was found, the head of the fire department who was called to the scene, this man with decades of experience, almost fainted when he saw him. The last thing Youssef Fofana (leader of the murdering gang, the barbarians) did was to slit Ilan's throat twice and pour an inflammable liquid on him and try to set it on fire. But this did not burn him to death, because Ilan walked for perhaps one hour, trying still to find a way to live.