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Halimi suspects going on trial in Paris

PARIS (JTA) — The French gang accused of kidnapping and torturing Ilan Halimi to death because he was Jewish will go on trial in Paris.

Twenty-seven suspects, including the leader of a gang called the Barbarians, will be tried starting Wednesday for kidnapping,  torturing and murdering the 23-year-old French Jew in 2006 because of his religion or ethnicity.

Paris prosecutors will argue that gang leader Youssouf Fofana chose his victim because he believed Jews were wealthy and his family could pay a high ransom. Fofana, 28, is expected to deny he acted out of anti-Semitism, according to French reports.

It is still unclear whether the trial will be open to press coverage because it will take place in juvenile court, where journalists have limited access. Two of the 27 suspects were minors at the time of the crime.

The Halimi family has publicly stated its wish for a public trial in order to expose the nature of the crime.

Halimi’s mother, Ruth, said in in a recently published book titled "24 Days" that French authorities did not take into account anti-Semitic motives during her son’s captivity.

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