Saturday, January 28

Life in prison for the killer of French Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll | France

A French court sentenced the killer of an elderly Jewish woman to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 22 years, in a case that sparked anti-Semitism protests in France.

Yacine Mihoub was convicted of the murder of 85-year-old Mireille Knoll, who was stabbed 11 times and whose body was partially burned after her Paris apartment was set on fire on March 23, 2018.

A second defendant, Alex Carrimbacus, was acquitted of murder by the Paris court, but found guilty of robbery on anti-Semitic motives, for which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The court said the attack, which began as a robbery, was fueled by “a broader context of anti-Semitism” and “prejudice” about the alleged wealth of the Jewish people, leading Mihoub to believe that the victim had “hidden treasures. ” in his house.

Knoll’s family praised the verdict as “fair.”

President Emmanuel Macron attended the funeral of the octagenarian, who had survived a notorious raid by Jews in Paris in 1942 during World War II by fleeing with her mother to Portugal and later married an Auschwitz survivor.

Mihoub, the son of one of Kroll’s neighbors who described her as a “surrogate grandmother” to him, denied any involvement in her death and instead blamed Carrimbacus.

Knoll’s murder made him even more disgusted because he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and could not move without help.

Knoll’s son Daniel told the court that when his mother let Mihoub, who had done odd jobs for her for years, into her home “she never expected the person she had protected for years to become her executioner. “.

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In his final statement in court on Wednesday, Carrimbacus told Knoll’s family that he regretted not preventing an attack described by the prosecution as “particularly savage.”

The attack was classified as anti-Semitic after Carrimbacus told investigators that he overheard Mihoub arguing with Kroll on the day of his death “about the Jews’ money and their wealth.”

He also claimed that Mihoub, who had multiple convictions for violence, shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is the greatest”) while stabbing her.

Prosecutors also pointed to messages glorifying the jihadist attacks found in Mihoub’s prison cell as evidence of his alleged anti-Semitism.

The 500,000-member French Jewish community, the largest in Europe, has been rocked by a series of attacks by radical Islamists targeting Jews in recent years.

In March 2011, gunman Mohamed Merah shot dead a teacher and three children at a Jewish school in the city of Toulouse in March 2011.

Four years later, four people were killed in a hostage-taking in a Jewish supermarket in Paris by an accomplice of the two brothers who had massacred a group of cartoonists for cartoons of Muhammad a few days earlier.

An estimated 30,000 people participated in a silent march in memory of Knoll in March 2018 that was attended by government ministers and the heads of France’s political parties.

During the three-week murder trial, the defendants, both repeat offenders who had met in prison, blamed each other for his death.

The case drew a parallel to the 2017 murder of an Orthodox Jewish woman in her sixties, Sarah Halimi, who was thrown out of her Paris apartment window by a neighbor shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is the greatest “).

France’s highest court ruled in April that the murderer in that case, Kobili Traore, was not criminally liable after succumbing to a “delusional attack” while under the influence of drugs and could not be prosecuted.

That ruling angered the victim’s family and Jewish groups, and prompted Macron to urge a change in French law to ensure that people face responsibility for violent crimes while under the influence of drugs.

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