PARIS (Apr. 24)
An Algiers criminal court has sentenced 12 local youths to suspended prison sentences for breaking into and looting the city’s only synagogue last December. The trial took place last month but news of this reached Paris only a few days ago. At the time of the break-in police in Algiers promised that “all measures will be taken” to apprehend the culprits who had also desecrated many of the religious objects.
The 12 youths who are in their early teens were sentenced to terms ranging from three to six months and were given suspended sentences under the control of probation officers. Two other defendants, considered as adults by Algerian law, since they are over 18 years of age, have not yet been sentenced and are still in detention.
The court reached its verdict of suspended sentences after Roger Said, president of the Algerian Jewish community, told the court that the city’s Jews were prepared to pardon the defendants because of their age. He declared that while the Jewish community advocated suspended sentences for the minors it could not agree to have their case treated as ” a minor break-in and theft affair.” Said also stated that the Jewish community protested against certain local press reports which claimed that “the entire affair was inspired by the Zionists.” He called on the court to take a stand on this issue. The court decided to rule later on this.