Mother of slain French Jew demands open trial for killers
Le Figaro reports mother of Ilan Halimi, who was kidnapped, tortured and left for dead in 2006, demands trial of suspects be made public so 'his death won't be in vain'. Court may reject mother's request, as two of the suspects were minors at time of incident
The trial of Youssouf Fofana, head of the Barbarians gang implicated in the crime, is scheduled to open in a Paris juvenile court on April 29. Le Figaro reported that despite the mother's wishes, the trial may be held behind closed doors since two of the 30 suspects in the crime were minors at the time of the murder.
"For Mrs. Halimi, an open trial has an educational value. It's the law of silence that killed her son, and it would be intolerable for it to have a place in the trial," said Halimi's lawyer Francis Spinner.
Ilan Halimi was a 23-year-old sales representative at a cellular communications company when he was kidnapped from his workplace in January 2006, after being lured into a meeting by a young girl.
Three weeks later Halimi was found critically wounded, bound and handcuffed and with burns all over his body near a railroad track in a Parisian suburb. He died of his wound on the way to the hospital, and was reburied at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem about one year later.
The vicious murder sparked a row in France and Israel and raised fears of increasing anti-Semitism among French Muslims. Police investigators said the gang had tried to kidnap other Jewish youths before successfully capturing Halimi.
The Barbarians demanded ransom in the amount of € 450,000 (about $605,776), but the prolonged negotiations did not lead to his release.
Youssouf Fofana, who has declared himself the "brains of the Barbarians", was arrested in the Ivory Coast and extradited back to France. Police said that during his investigation, Fofana confessed to leading the gang and planning Halimi's kidnapping, but that he denied murdering him.