Yesterday the NYT had a lengthy article about the Halimi murder: Torture and Death of Jew Deepen Fears in France
Mr. Halimi, 23, died Feb. 13, shortly after he was found near a train station 15 miles away by passers-by, after crawling out of the wooded area where he was dumped. He was naked and bleeding from at least four stab wounds to his throat, his hands bound and adhesive tape covering his mouth and eyes. According to the initial autopsy report, burns, apparently from the acid, covered 60 percent of his body.
This was a premeditated crime that took place over a period of three weeks. The sadistic torture indicates a hate crime:
The French police officer leading the investigation said the gang “kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut bits off his flesh, fingers and ears, and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight. It was one of the cruelest killings I have ever seen.”
The NYT article continues, explaining that neighbors in the building where he was tortured knew there was something going on:
“I knew they had someone down there,” said a young French-Arab man, loitering in the doorway of a building adjacent to the one where Mr. Halimi was held. He claimed to live upstairs from the makeshift dungeon but would not give his name or say whether he knew then that the man was a Jew. “I didn’t know they were torturing him,” he said. “Otherwise, I would have called the police.”
But it is clear that plenty of people did know, both that Mr. Halimi was being tortured and that he was Jewish. The police, according to lawyers with access to the investigation files, think at least 20 people participated in his abduction and the subsequent, amateurish negotiations for ransom. His captors told his family that if they did not have the money, they should “go and get it from your synagogue,” and later contacted a rabbi, telling him, “We have a Jew.”
. . .
Mr. Halimi was taken to the Pierre-Plate housing project in Bagneux, and initially held in an empty third-floor apartment at 1, rue Serge-Prokofiev, with the help of the building’s superintendent, according to the lawyers who have seen the investigative files. The gang covered his eyes and mouth with tape, leaving only a hole for a straw.
The Halimi family’s first contact with the kidnappers was the night of Saturday, Jan. 21, when a gang member called Mr. Halimi’s girlfriend and instructed her to log on to a Hotmail e-mail account. That began a series of agonizingly disjointed communications from Mr. Halimi’s abductors that included hundreds of phone calls and e-mail messages, and ransom demands that started at $500,000 and dropped to $5,000, said the family’s lawyer, Francis Szpiner.
After a few days, the gang moved their captive to the concrete basement room beneath a section of the building a few doors down. They shaved his head and sliced his cheek with a knife, photographed him with blood running down his face, and e-mailed the picture to his family.
As the days wore on, his captors turned increasingly cruel, stripping off his clothes and beating, scratching and cutting him. A burning cigarette was pressed into his forehead.
The family was instructed to send a ransom to Ivory Coast, via Western Union, and Mr. Fofana traveled to that country at least once in early February. According to reports after his eventual arrest, it was after the ransom failed to arrive that the torture of Mr. Halimi began in earnest.
The police did not yet know the identities of the gang members but were close on their heels. Around Feb. 10, Mr. Fofana briefly visited an Internet cafe on the Rue de la Fidélité in the 10th Arrondissement, wearing a cap and a scarf that covered his mouth and nose. “I don’t even think he took his gloves off,” the manager said Friday. Just 15 minutes later, he said, police officers arrived looking for a black man, a computer-generated sketch in hand. They lifted fingerprints from the keyboard Mr. Fofana had used and confiscated the computer’s hard drive and the 5-euro note he had paid with.
A French Rabbi, whose identity was withheld for fear of retaliation, stated in a France2 interview that the gang had contacted him requesting ransom because Halimi was a Jew. During the televised interview, the Rabbi played two telephone conversations he had taped where the kidnappers stated this.
The gang had attempted a string of anti-Semitic kidnappings prior to Halimi’s.
In spite of all the evidence, the World Socialist Web Site persists in stating that Ilan Halimi tortured and murdered for money, along with the Egyptian press, who states, ‘Money only motive’ in kidnapping of murdered French Jew, since Youssouf Fofana, a 25-year-old French Muslim, after his extradition Saturday from Ivory Coast insists this was no hate crime. Fofana was extradited to France, where hate crimes carry heavier sentences. Fofana has allegedly admitted the kidnap, but denied murder.
A jailhouse interview was televised in France:
Dressed in a sweat suit, with a female companion at his side, Mr. Fofana, 25, dined on a meal spread out on a wooden chair, smiling frequently for a television camera and calmly responding to questions about the grisly killing of the salesman, 23-year-old Ilan Halimi.
. . .
“The abduction was carried out for financial ends,” said Mr. Fofana, a smile tugging at his mouth. Asked if he had anything to say to the victim’s family, he said, “I didn’t kill their child.”
. . .
Jean-Yves Camus, a political scientist who has extensively studied racism and anti-Semitism in Europe, said that while politicians and religious leaders had been slow to react publicly, many Jews were convinced that the crime stemmed from anti-Semitism because of the hostility and harassment that they faced in their own lives.
As Caroline Glick said, Today, every Jew in the world is on the front lines of war. I add, we all are, Jews or not.
Two years ago Sebastien Sedam was murdered by his Muslim neighbor. On the same night, in the same city, a Jewish woman was brutally murdered in the presence of her daughter by another Muslim.
Anti-Semitic attacks continue: French Jewish leaders slam assaults on three Jews
French Jewish leaders denounced on Monday as anti-Semitic three weekend attacks in the rough suburbs around Paris where the torture and murder of a young Jew last month caused outrage.
The Halimi murder was a hate crime. It should be discussed as such. It is painful, but necessary, to contemplate the raw evil on display here.
Yourish.com has more on the Halimi case.