April 26, 2021


France has been the epicenter of COVID-19 shutdowns throughout the world. The streets in France have looked desolate, but this has not been the case as of late. Thousands of protestors have gathered in Paris and other parts of France in the aftermath of a murder of a Sarah Halimi in 2017.

The murder did not cause the uprising. A French court declared that the man who committed the murder had a psychotic episode from marijuana usage. The French court ruled that he is not fit for a trial because of his mental state at the time of the murder.

Many French citizens were not happy, and this has been apparent with the protests.

The Murder of Sarah Halimi

Sarah Halimi was a 65-year-old Jewish woman, and she was murdered by Kobili Traore. Traore began the criminal process in the French court system, but it was recently deemed that his cannabis usage gave him immunity.

Traore was murdered on April 4, 2017, at 4:00 AM when she was sleeping in her apartment. He beat her while reciting verses from the Quran and threw her off the third floor of her apartment’s balcony. Traore claimed that he did not know that Halimi was Jewish, but neighbors heard him say: “I killed the Sheitan,” which is the Arabic term for the devil.

The killing was deemed an anti semitic act, but the court said Traore committed the action because of marijuana. It took the court system close to a year to declare that the act was racist. The exact term that the court used was “delusional fit” caused by drugs. The decision was made nearly two weeks ago by France’s Supreme Court equivalent.

Reactions to the Court Decision

Protests have been ongoing since the court made the ruling for Traore. Traore is receiving treatment in a psychiatric hospital, but this did not appease Halimi’s family and countless French citizens.

Halimi’s family has been outspoken about the decision saying it was disgraceful. Halimi’s sister, Esther Lekover, stated that she would begin the legal process for a new trial in Israel. Lekover and the rest of Halimi’s family are not going to stop until Traore is sentenced.

There have been protests all over the world. Six cities in France were filled with demonstrators, including Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, Strasbourg, and Nice. People also showed support for Halimi in Rome, Tel Aviv, London, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.

Frank Tapiro, a political activist who organized the rally in France, declared that he wanted justice for Halimi and the family. He told BFM TV that:

“We want a trial whatever the outcome. He chose to smoke cannabis. The experts made their reports, but the judges are not obliged to accept them. This problem affects all French people, not just the Jewish community.”

Acts are being proposed in the French Parliament to cause voluntary drug-induced crimes to be a criminal offense. However, Halimi has already been acquitted in France, so the family’s best shot of jailing him is in the Israel court system.

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