Longtime Atlas readers are painfully aware of the savage murder of the French Jewish young man, Ilan Halimi (previous Atlas coverage here).
Tonight, Friday evening (shabbat), the verdict was read, a repeat of July 2009, when the verdict was also read "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," on a Friday night—the Sabbath.
The 2009 verdict was such a gross miscarriage of justice, Justice Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie instructed the prosecutor to appeal the verdict in the Gang of Barbarians case. A new trial was scheduled.
Ilan Halimi was targeted, tortured for weeks and murdered because he was Jewish. The murder of Ilan Halimi can only be described as an unspeakable horror, and yet typical of the rising Islamic Jew-hatred and violence against the Jews. A group calling itself the Muslim Barbarians targeted Jewish men for torture and murder. Their first attempts to kidnap a Jew were unsuccessful, despite the lure of a beautiful girl. Ilan Halimi was not so lucky. He did not escape the Islamic homemade concentration camp the Muslim Barbarians had set up. The banality of evil lived in that apartment building. Apartment dwellers, all Muslims, heard Ilan's screams and cries of torture over a period of three weeks, and yet did not call the cops. The screams must have been loud because the torture was especially atrocious: the thugs cut bits of flesh off the young man. They cut his fingers and ears. They burned him with acid. They poured flammable liquid on him and set him on fire. Not only did those in the building not go to the police -- they did nothing at all. Worse, many took part in the tortures.
After weeks of systematic and unspeakable cruelty:
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. New York Sun here.
Tonight, Nidra Poller is in Paris covering the verdict for Atlas readers.
Verdict in the Gang of Barbarians appellate court trial Paris December 17, 2010
The verdict in the appeals trial of 17 members of the Gang of Barbarians, guilty in diverse degrees of luring, kidnapping, and torturing Ilan Halimi, was announced this Friday evening. Ilan Halimi’s mother, sisters, and brother-in-law, who are observant Jews, could not be in court to hear the verdict handed down two hours after the beginning of shabat.. The verdict in the lower court trial had been rendered at 10 PM on Friday July 13, 2009.
Jail terms were increased for seven of the seventeen defendants; the other ten were unchanged. The defense lawyers were exasperated. “All of this for nothing!” If it were nothing more than a few years added to the prison terms of seven defendants, one might be tempted to agree that it was not worth two and a half months of hearings at great expense of time, effort, and public funds. The plaintiffs’ lawyers, on the contrary, were deeply satisfied. Why? This time, they say, the presiding judge organized the hearings in such a way that the full weight of the ordeal in all its horror was rendered. The mastermind Youssouf Fofana, who called himself the “Brain of the Barbarians,” was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Ilan Halimi, with aggravating circumstances of anti-Semitism. After the public prosecutor appealed the lower court verdict for the seventeen defendants, Fofana interjected an appeal on his own behalf. And then withdrew it. He was expected to appear in court, however, as a witness. But he created so many disturbances in the first days of hearings that the judge refrained from summoning him thereafter. In the absence of Fofana, whose unrepentant vice had dominated the first trial, the vices of the other defendants were, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs, brought to light.
If, as the defense lawyers would have us believe, the aim of the retrial was to radically increase the severity of the punishment, the whole operation could be seen as futile. The trial, once more, was held behind closed doors—without any media presence-- on the grounds that two of the defendants were under eighteen when the crime was committed. Elsa Vigoureux, who writes a blog for Le Nouvel Observateur weekly, covered the lower court trial in great detail… from one side. Her blog was based almost exclusively on information slipped to her from defense lawyers. She told me, in a private conversation, that she also had the file of the investigation (which is supposed to be made available to a very limited number of people involved in the case).
This time, lawyers for the plaintiffs decided to inform certain journalists, primarily from a Jewish radio station, Radio J. And Ms. Vigoureux showed far less interest in the case. Could we say that the lower court trial was a smokescreen and the appeals trial a sincere attempt to render justice based on a thorough examination of the facts and the personalities involved, revealing the extent of their cruelty and the twisted nature of their minds? The picture that emerges this time is consistent with the horrors endured by Ilan Halimi, held prisoner for 24 days in a makeshift death camp. His jailors and tormentors could not hide, this time, behind a sociological screen… wayward youths manipulated by a monster. The monstrosity of each and every one came to light.
Behind closed doors. The next step is to make those truths public, with the help of those who defended the victims of the Gang of Barbarians.