Apr 27 2009
A gang of 28 Muslims known as ‘the barbarians’ go on trial today accused of the 24-day torture and murder of a young Jewish man that appalled France due to it’s brutality and vile anti-Semitism.
Tens of thousands took to the streets to march against anti-Semitism after the brutal crime, although defence lawyers say financial gain was the prime motive. The murder came just months after France’s high-immigrant suburbs exploded into three weeks of nightly riots, and rapidly took on political overtones.
The alleged gang leader, Youssouf Fofana, and 26 others are to answer various charges during the trial, which will be held behind closed doors before a Paris juvenile court because two defendants were minors at the time of the crime.
Prosecutors describe Mr Fofana, 28, as a “perverted megalomaniac” bent on kidnapping Jews for ransom “because they are loaded with dough” and “stick together”. He escaped to the Ivory Coast shortly after the murder but was arrested and extradited to France.
Also known as “Ossama” and “Mohammed”, Mr Fofana initially admitted to the murder but has since changed his story several times, often lapsing into unintelligible anti-Semitic rants. He has switched lawyers almost 40 times and has already served a one-year jail sentence for insulting officers and a judge. As the gang’s alleged ringleader, he is accused of stabbing Mr Halimi and dousing his body with rubbing alcohol before setting him on fire because the victim “looked at him in the eyes” before he was let go. UK TELEGRAPH
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