(JTA) – The gang leader serving a life sentence in France for his role in the murder of a Parisian Jew received another 10 years in jail for earlier extortions, including of a Jewish lawyer.
Youssouf Fofana, who was convicted in 2009 in the torture and killing of Ilan Halimi three years earlier, had his sentence extended Tuesday by the 16th Correctional Tribunal of Paris, Le Figaro reported.
Joseph Cohen-Sabban, a criminal attorney, said Fofana, a 36-year-old career criminal, threatened and tried to extort him in 2004, Le Parisien weekly reported Tuesday.
Cohen-Sabban said Fofana obtained his home address from Cohen-Sabban’s son, who was a high school student at the time, Cohen-Sabban told Le Parisien. Fofana or his accomplices broke into Cohen-Sabban’s home three times in 2004. A female accomplice of Fofana called Cohen-Sabban’s ex-wife to obtain further details under false pretenses, alerting the lawyer to the scheme, he said.
Fofana or his accomplices sent Cohen-Sabban a video of a masked man firing a weapon, threatening him to hand over thousands of dollars in exchange for his safety. The masked man falsely claimed he belonged to the Corsican nationalist group Armata Corsa.
Cohen-Sabban, who has looked into the Fofana investigation independently of the police, said the majority of Fofana’s victims from 2002 to 2005 were Jewish, though they had probably not been selected because of their ethnicity.
“His victims were people of means,” Cohen-Sabban told Le Parisien. “During the period in which he acted against those victims, he gradually moved in the direction of carrying out the murder of Ilan Halimi.”
A gang of at least 16 people led by Fofana abducted Halimi, thentortured and starved him for 24 days while they negotiated with his family to obtain a ransom. Fofana assured his gang that they would be paid because Halimi was Jewish.
Halimi was found naked and handcuffed in a Paris suburb on Feb. 13, 2006. He had burns on 80 percent of his body and died on his way to the hospital.
During his sentencing, Fofana refused to rise before his judges and described himself as a “trader of terror.” The prosecutor said “he did not change, he is still full of hate.”