A French appeals court has upheld the convictions of 16 people for their roles in the 2006 kidnapping, torture and murder of a young French Jew - handing down sentences of up to 18 years in prison.
The appeals court in Creteil was hearing the appeals of defendants already convicted by a lower court into the slaying of Ilan Halimi, who was lured into their custody by a young woman, then sequestered and killed.
The ringleader, Youssouf Fofana, was not on trial in the proceedings that began Oct. 25: He chose not to appeal his conviction and life sentence. Fofana, a 28 year-old of Ivoirian origin, expressed no remorse and expressed defiance throughout his trial. On various occasions, he smirked at Halimi’s relatives, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" and at one point threw shoes at lawyers.
The 23-year-old Halimi was held captive for over three weeks. He was found naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks south of Paris on Feb. 13, 2006. He died on the way to a hospital.
The case shocked France and turned a spotlight on anti-Semitic violence in the poor, multi-ethnic suburbs around many big French cities.
According to several members of the gang that abducted and murdered Halimi, he was targeted because he was Jewish and was therefore believed to have money.
Reuters contributed to the story
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