When 65-year-old Sarah Halimi was in her apartment in Paris, her 27-year-old neighbor decided to break in, brutally beat her, and then throw her out of a third-story window – targeting her because she was Jewish. The hate crime happened in April 2017, and Kobili Traore, the Muslim man who committed the crime, is now walking free, absolved of his responsibility for the horrid act by the high courts of France. Why? His defense claimed that he had a “massive psychotic episode” after smoking marijuana, which allowed him to walk away, responsibility-free.
The ruling sets a dangerous precedent, as the French courts essentially stated that murdering someone while intoxicated is not the fault of the person, but the intoxicant. This faulty ruling has caused a global wave of protests, starting in Paris, where thousands of people, including Halimi’s brother and son from Israel were both present. People also gathered in New York, London, Rome, Miami, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem.
Thousands showed up to demand justice for Sarah, demonstrating against the French law that does not distinguish between mental illness, and voluntary drug use, the legal loophole which allowed a murderer to escape prosecution.
During the Tel Aviv protest, the Minister of Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevich said that “Sarah Halimi was murdered only because she was a Jew…Especially today, with the alarming rise in radical Islamic antisemitism throughout France, this court ruling sets a dangerous precedent that jeopardizes the security and well-being of our brothers and sisters in France.” Halimi’s sister has initiated a lawsuit against Traore from Israel; however France does not extradite its criminals. The story continues to unravel as hopefully, justice for Sarah Halimi, is seen.