Sarah Halimi’s family in France want her killer tried in Israel


(JTA) — Lawyers for the family of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman whose killer was deemed unfit to stand trial in France, say they want to have him tried in Israel.

The idea articulated Wednesday in a statement by lawyers Francis Szpiner and Gilles-William Goldnadel is based on the fact that Israeli citizens may litigate in Israel over alleged anti-Semitic attacks abroad. Sarah Halimi’s sister, Esther Lekover, is an Israeli.

“We regret that the situation has come to this,” the lawyers wrote in the statement. They are contemplating “initiating judicial action in Israel through a complaint against Kobili Traore.”

France’s highest criminal court confirmed rulings by lower courts that Traore was having a psychotic, marijuana-induced “delirious episode” when he pummeled his neighbor Halimi, a physician in her 60s, for about half an hour at her apartment before throwing her out the window of her third-story apartment.

Both the Israeli and French judiciaries adhere to conservative interpretations of their jurisdictions abroad and visa versa, complicating the prospect of the legal action contemplated by the family’s lawyers.

Witnesses say Traore, who is Muslim, shouted about Allah and called Halimi a “demon” in Arabic while he was assaulting her. Then he shouted “A lady fell down from her window” and the left the scene. Police apprehended him nearby. He was placed in a psychiatric institution.

French Jewish groups are organizing a protest rally in Paris on April 25 to protest the ruling, which they regard as a miscarriage of justice.

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