Court date set for Halimi murderer

PARIS (JTA) — The gang leader accused of kidnapping and torturing to death a 23-year-old French Jew will be tried in a Paris court.

Youssouf Fofana, 28, a Frenchman originally from the Ivory Coast and head of The Barbarians, the gang that kidnapped Ilan Halimi in Paris in 2006, will be tried with 27 other gang members beginning April 29, the French news agency AFP reported.

The suspects targeted Halimi because they believed Jews were wealthy and well connected, according to French reports. The group burned and beat Halimi, a cellular phone salesman who lived in a low-income suburb, for the three weeks he was held captive in the southern Paris suburb Bagneux.

Halimi was found naked and handcuffed near a subway rail line. He died on the way to the hospital and was buried in Israel.

Halimi’s death shocked the French Jewish community, which after his killing held a massive rally against racism and anti-Semitism in Paris. French aliyah rates spiked after the murder.

Fofana fled to the Ivory Coast after the murder but was extradited back to France in March 2006.

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