Relatives of Sarah Halimi, a Parisian Jewish retiree killed by a young neighbor, are indignant at the slowness of education. For them, the aggressor acted out of anti-Semitism.
Nestled in the heart of 11e arrondissement of Paris, the rue de Vaucouleurs is quiet, almost deserted, lined with buildings HLM facades faded. It is here, in one of these residences folded up around a courtyard and a small garden, that Sarah Halimi, 65, died. It was in the night of April 3 to 4, 2017. Her 27-year-old neighbor, Kobili Traoré, broke into her home and hit her, then defenestrated her from the third floor to shout out " Allahu Akbar ".
One and the other had met for ten years without really knowing each other. She, retired without stories, former manger, divorced, " discreet and smiling, according to his neighbors, living alone since the departure of his three children a few years earlier. He was an unemployed young man, the youngest of five siblings, living in the building with his sisters, his mother and his father-in-law (his father died when he was seven). Subject to " surge of anger ", the confession of his relatives, several times incarcerated for "Theft", "attempted theft", "refusal to comply", "driving without a license", "violence", "use and possession of narcotics", "carrying a prohibited weapon", the one everyone called "Baby" despite his meter eighty-seven, was considered a neighborhood boss.
Sarah (her Hebrew name) Halimi, Lucie Attal of her maiden name, was Jewish Orthodox, "Very practicing , Says Me Gilles-William Goldnadel, lawyer for his brother and sister. Kobili Traoré, he is a Muslim, "Little practicing", according to his entourage. "Not too much in Islam," he said, he does not eat pork but drinks alcohol " sometimes " and frequent "Occasionally" Omar Mosque, located 200 meters from his home. On April 3, a few hours before the murder, he went to pray.
In the following days, social networks get excited, rumors multiply: Sarah Halimi "would" have been stabbed; she "would" have been killed by a jihadist who "has" radicalized himself in prison. Many people see it as an anti-Semitic act. Interned in psychiatry a few hours after the beginning of his detention, Kobili Traoré is not in a position to be questioned. Justice is forced to wait, the media too. The Jewish community, bruised, is impatient. The case raises "Anger and anguish", warns the chief rabbinate of France.
"Acute delusional puff" of the suspect
Over the weeks, the representative institutions and lawyers of the victim's family denounce "The media silence", "the denial of justice", even the "Lead screed" surrounding, according to them, this case. In an article published on June 2 in Le Figaro, fifteen intellectuals, including Elisabeth Badinter, Alain Finkielkraut, Michel Onfray and Pascal Bruckner, call for all light to be made «On the death of this French woman of Jewish confession killed with the cries of" Allahou Akbar " ".
On July 10, the investigating judge Anne Ihuellou can finally hear the suspect. In the process, this one is indicted for " voluntary homicide ", but without the aggravating circumstance of anti-Semitism. A few days later, on July 16, during the ceremony commemorating the roundup of the Vél 'd'Hiv, in the presence of the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, asks that " Justice [Make] all the clarity about Sarah Halimi's death ", before listing the names of the victims of murder and anti-Semitic attacks in recent years.
The Consistory was moved by the silence of justice
More than four months after the submission of Dr. Zagury's report, the civil parties are still waiting for Judge Ihuellou to rule on the aggravating circumstance of anti-Semitism. In other words, it validates the opinion of the psychiatrist.
Denouncing a procedure that " dragged ", the lawyer of Sarah Halimi's three children, Me Jean-Alex Buchinger, filed in mid-December, a request for an act of instruction so that the magistrate extends the indictment of Kobili Traoré the aggravating circumstances of"Anti-Semitism" of"Assassination" and D'"Acts of torture and barbarism". But this request remained a dead letter. On January 12, he seized the president of the investigating chamber.
Three days later, invited to the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), the spokesman of the government, Benjamin Griveaux, was questioned about the evolution of justice in the field of qualifications and convictions of racist or antisemitic offenses, with reference to the Sarah Halimi case.
The same day, the Central Consistory, institution representative of the Jewish religion of France, itself moved the silence of the judicial institution in a statement: "More than nine months after the terrible assassination of Sarah Halimi, the justice of our country has still not retained the aggravating circumstance of anti-Semitism. (...) The Consistory questions the reasons which, so far, have led the magistrate instructor not to follow the requisitions of the prosecution. "
A "little drug addict"
For the civil parties and the Jewish community, this silence is all the more " incomprehensible that they are convinced that Kobili Traoré is incarcerated in the prison Fresnes (Val-de-Marne) since July 11, 2017 and therefore likely to be re-examined at any time. However, it is not the case. In fact, he remained only a few hours behind bars before being transferred again to the psychiatric hospital of Villejuif, where he is still interned. "It must remain at all costs far from cannabis, otherwise it becomes dangerous", specifies a source close to the file. "Nobody thought it wise to inform us! ton Me Buchinger. The judge does not answer us and explains us nothing. "
For now, the magistrate heard the suspect only once, just before his indictment, six months ago. For his part, Dr. Daniel Zagury met him three times, between May and July.
In front of the judge and the psychiatrist, Kobili Traoré's sentences are short, his explanations are sketchy. His gesture, he does not [If] do not explain it. He attributes it to "Demon that was in him" this night. Confused, he stinks: " I do not know what happend to me. (...) I was in my delirium. (...) I felt like possessed, (...) as if I were oppressed by an external force, a demonic force. (...) It could have happened to anyone. "
In the neighborhood, he was previously perceived as a "Addicted delinquent", used to smoke about fifteen joints a day and to "Hanging out on the stairs, in the common areas", according to the testimony of a resident. "When he is not in prison, he is there. (...) He was doing his business, (...) drug trafficking, she added. He was known for that, and that's why people feared him. (...) I did not rub it either, but he never threatened me or said a word higher than the other. (...) People do not want to testify because they are scared because they do not want to be confronted with him or his family. "
Traoré, of Malian origin, have lived in this residence for more than ten years. Kobili, placed in boarding school at the age of nine - because"He was a bit of a fighter," said his mother, housekeeper -, stopped studying in third grade. Since then, he has never really worked. "My mother was tired of this situation, she let him know," told the police one of her three sisters, one of whom is disabled as a result of a cerebrovascular accident. Fiance to a young woman from Mali, whom he was to marry in the year, Kobili Traore oscillated between the desire to"To be like everyone else" and the fear of "Lose one's freedom", according to his own statements to the psychiatrist.
"Babelville", popular neighborhood and boho
Yonathan Halimi, the son of the victim, was not in Paris at the time of the tragedy. It has been fifteen years since this thirty-year-old lives in Israel, in Haifa. But he called his mother every day and came back regularly to see her. Like his sisters, he grew up in this neighborhood of 11e arrondissement at once popular and bobo, called "Babelville" (for Bas-Belleville). Here, exotic grocery stores share the macadam with organic mini-markets, take-away kebabs are next to trendy bistros, old men in kamis rub shoulders with young women with beanies and pink sneakers.
In the eyes of Mr. Halimi, no doubt: the streets of his childhood have become a stronghold of drug trafficking, doubled by a place of Islamist radicalization. The suspect himself, he is convinced, had become radicalized.
Yonathan Halimi knew the Traore. But only by sight. They did not speak. He found them "Hateful, especially children," he says, detailing the spittle on the floor as he passes, the dark looks, the doors of the lobby "That they shut us in the face". "It's obvious they're anti-Semitiche insists. We were stuck as Jews in the neighborhood, everyone knew, we never hid it. " One of her sisters, also questioned by the police, said about Traore: "We knew we should not go near it. " She also stated that years ago, one of the girls had treated her as "Dirty jewish". To hear him, however, his mother had not "Never said anything" of these tensions.
Sarah Halimi's brother nevertheless told the investigators that she, fearing for her safety, had wished to move, but that her requests to the mayor of Paris would have been rejected. After verification, it appeared that no request had been registered. Sarah Halimi also prospected - without success - on the side of Créteil, where his eldest resides. The idea of doing aliyah - the departure to Israel - had then crossed her mind, but she had not taken the step. Traumatized, her two daughters have been living in this country for a few months and are planning to settle there permanently.
Neither the residents of the building nor the guardian have yet witnessed anti-Semitic behavior in the neighborhood. Muslims, the step-down neighbors of the pensioner often rendered her service, especially on Saturday, Shabbat day, especially "To turn off the gas because she could not touch it" or " turn on the light ".
Another Jewish family of the residence claims to have never had "Problem with the neighborhood". A resident describes Sarah Halimi as a woman "Afraid of everything" and "Dreadful" the Traoré son but "Like everyone, no more and no less". For the Halimi, as for their lawyers and the representative institutions of the Jewish community, the latter has premeditated his crime by entering her home. "Because she was Jewish".
No signs of radicalization revealed by the survey
The suspect denies any anti-Semitic dimension to his gesture. He even claims that he did not know where he was going. It is by seeing a Torah and / or a candlestick in the living room that he would have understood: "At first, I felt like fighting with a demon," did he declare. Yes, he knew she was Jewish, "In his way of dressing, with traditional clothes (...) and his children, they were wearing the yarmulke ». No, he insists, "I am not anti-Semitic". And to add: "I have other Jewish neighbors, I never had problems with them. "
The examination of the family digital tablet established that no anti-Semitic or jihadist site had been consulted. Only a documentary about The secret history of 9/11 was watched on YouTube. The investigation revealed no signs of radicalization.
In his report, the psychiatrist expert decides: "It does not seem possible to say that Mme Lucie Attal was deliberately wanted to be slaughtered because she was Jewish. On the other hand, the fact that she is Jewish immediately demonized her and amplified the delusional experience (...) and provoked the barbaric surge of which she was the unfortunate victim. "
That night, Kobili Traoré sleeps with his friend Kader, on the fourth floor of the building adjoining his (and that of Sarah Halimi). His mother and one of his sisters, frightened by his attitude for forty-eight hours, called his friends for help to "Watch". It's been two days since he's scared them, he's behaving "Strange". He mumbles alone, insults them, and speaks incessantly of the devil, hinting that he was marabouted. The day before, he attacked a caregiver of Haitian origin who came to care for his disabled sister. "He began to say" outside, outside, outside, "gesturing with his hands to remove the belt from his pants, as if he wanted to use it to hit me," testified the young woman.
Still threatening, he accused her of witchcraft and then followed in the street before telling him he did not want to "No longer see her here". "I was afraid it would hurt my family," he explained to the investigating judge. His friends themselves describe him "Tormented" That day, "Scary" same, with a "Funny look". For the "Calm down", they took him to the mosque. While thinking "Moderately religious Kobili Traoré sees, at that moment, "Religion as [S]only escape ».
"You will pay"
In the middle of the night, while he is still at his friend Kader's, he gets up, goes down one floor and goes to the door of the Diarra apartment, a family friend of his, to go barefoot. Malian origin too. Father opens. Panicked by the aggressive attitude of the visitor, he runs to barricade in a room with his wife and children, before hearing reciting Quran verses in the living room. They call the police - "A fool has come into our house" ; it is then 4:22 in the morning.
A few minutes later, Kobili Traoré spans the balcony to enter Sarah Halimi's apartment. The result is an outburst of violence that some neighbors watch helplessly from their windows for twenty minutes. "I think I typed it with the phone, (...) then, with my fists, remembered the suspect before Judge Ihuellou. While striking the retired, he multiplies insults and cries: "You'll shut your mouth," "fat whore," "you'll pay," "God be my witness," "Allahu Akbar," "Sheitan." (devil) ... One of the witnesses evokes a "Bestial baiting". "Then I do not know what took me, I lifted it and threw it out the window," continued the young man. The autopsy will report "Dislocations", of "Crash" and of "Fractures" multiple.
The configuration of the premises is confusing. Police officers of the Anti-Crime Brigade (BAC) of 11e Borough trample behind the wrong door, that of the Diarra, which is, in fact, in the neighboring building. In addition, this door is three points, impossible to break without heavy equipment. The police must wait for the arrival of an assault column from BAC 75. More than an hour after the first call, the police finally apprehend Traore, while he is again reciting verses from the Koran. "There was a lot of time between the call and the police intervention," scolds the lawyer Gilles-William Goldnadel, who lodged a complaint against the police for " no assistance to the person in danger ".
"It's the incarnation of the devil that he was crushing"
According to the testimony of a neighbor, the man he saw defenestrate the pensioner reportedly said, a "Your detached", just after his gesture: "A woman commits suicide. " The suspect, he says, does not remember. For the Halimi family, it is the mark of his lucidity at the time of the facts. "He knew what he was doing, insists Yonathan Halimi. The proof, he wanted to hide his act. "
During the first weeks of his internment at the psychiatric hospital of Villejuif, Kobili Traoré took the patients for the devil as well as most carers, "Except those to whom he attributed the Muslim religion", noted a nurse, whose report appears in the expertise. In his report, the psychiatrist puts the crime in context: "Today, it is common to observe, in delirious efflorescence, among subjects of Muslim religion, an anti-Semitic theme: the Jew is on the side of evil, the evil. What is usually a prejudice turns into delusional hatred. " Conclusion: "In his delusional upheaval, it is the incarnation of the devil that he was crushing. "
"And the devil, for him, it's a Jew," underlines Me Buchinger. This is precisely what the Halimi family's lawyers want to denounce. "I am engaged in a fight that transcends and transcends this affair, confirms Me Gilles-William Goldnadel, a fight against Islamic anti-Semitism and the denial that surrounds it. The quest for truth passes by the recognition of this reality. "
"The trial of Kobili Traoré will be his, that of the heinous crime he committed, adds Francis Kalifat, the president of CRIF, but it will be also that of the anti-Semitism that kills in our country, it will be that of the antisemitism of radical Islam. "
A source close to the file tempers this judgment of the civil parties, proposing a different reading of this drama: "I sympathize with the Jewish community, but I'm afraid it's wrong. Kobili Traore is really very sick. "