Franceinfo goes back the thread of events, since the murder of this Jewish retiree by a Muslim until the intervention of Emmanuel Macron.
IIt's around 4:45 am, this Tuesday, April 4th, when Nicolas * wakes up. A noise brought him out of his sleep. "A kind of crying dog or a baby." The quarantine goes back to sleep and reopens his eyes again. This time, he is sure, it's a baby crying. The moans are stronger. He approaches the window of his apartment and sees a silhouette on a balcony of the building in front, on the 3rd floor.
Nicolas has a bird's eye view of the stage. In the dark, he gradually distinguishes what is unfolding before his eyes: a man bangs on "A woman of a certain age", on the ground, chanting "God is great", "May God witness me". The blows rain, with a "Bestial baiting".
The lights of neighboring apartments light up, voices rise to scream "Call the police !". The tears were silent on the balcony. The man grabs the inert body and tilts it over the railing, screaming: "There is a woman, she is going to commit suicide!"
By telling this scene to the police, Nicolas starts crying. And ask for psychological support. That night, he witnessed the murder of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Jewish retiree, by Kobili T., a 27-year-old French man of Malian descent, of Muslim culture. The victim and his executioner were neighbors. They both lived at 30, rue de Vaucouleurs, in the 11th district of Paris.
Three and a half months later this fact remains unspeakablein many ways. The crime is odious but the motive and the personality of its author remain mysterious for the justice, which did not retain the antisemitic character of the homicide. Here is how this criminal record, passed almost unnoticed during the presidential campaign, became a state affair.
A neighbor become disturbing
TheThe BAC police patrol their usual patrol on Monday, April 3, in the Couronnes district in Paris. It is 5:15 am when they see a man with suspicious behavior in Jean-Pierre-Timbaud Street. He runs and frequently looks back, as if pursued. It's Kobili T., "Baby" for his family. The young man runs and refuses first to stop despite the injunctions of the police. Finally intercepted, he is released.
The hours before the homicide of Sarah Halimi, her alleged murderer has multiplied worrying signs. According to his family, he was not "Not in its normal state" the few days before the tragedy. "Since this weekend, Kobili said 'sheitan' ["Demon" in Arabic] all the time, he saw the devil everywhere "recalls one of her sisters with the investigators. Sunday night, it is "Very agitated, speaks alone and walks in the family apartment permanently".
The next morning, Kobili T. suddenly pronounces "Subhan Allah" (a formula to greet the greatness of God) at breakfast and fired the medical assistant of another of his sisters, disabled, on the grounds that it is not "Not muslim". He accuses him of "witchcraft" and chases her to the street. He will later tell the judge, during his examination of his first appearance on July 10, that he had "Afraid she'll hurt" his family.
Kobili T.'s sister is "worry" for his brother that morning.
He said he was going to fix everything today, that it's [his] father-in-law who had marabouted him and that was why he was not moving forward in life and was stuck.
Kobili T.'s sister to the investigators.
In the T. family, beliefs related to bewitching are widespread. The mother thinks that her son is possessed, the sisters consult clairvoyants and are convinced that their brother has been "Marabout", just like his eldest a few years ago, returned to the bled because he presented the same troubles.
After having lost a six-year-old brother a few years ago, Kobili T. is now the only boy in the family, made up of three girls. Born in Paris of parents of Malian origin, he lived a chaotic childhood. "A little brawler", according to his mother, he passed "Boarding internship" after the death of his father, when he was eight years old.
He stops studying at age 16 and falls quickly into delinquency. On his criminal record, there are six convictions for violence, four for theft, eight for drug use or trafficking, two for contempt, one for carrying a category 6 weapon and more than thirty pages of handrails. During this prison journey, no particular psychic disorder is detected. According to his sister, "He has never seen a psychiatrist since he was an adult".
Since his last release from prison in 2015, Kobili T. does not work. he "Spend his days outside doing nothing"regrets his mother, and returns to sleep from time to time in the apartment on the second floor of 30, rue de Vaucouleurs, where he has no room. His business hangs out in the hallway and he sleeps in the living room couch. He gets along badly with his father-in-law, who took "The place of his dead father". But according to his entourage, family, neighbors and friends, Kobili T. knows how to be helpful and kind. "At home, he is protective of his family, he helps a little to do housework"says his mother to the investigators. He has a fiancée in Mali. Then the wind turns suddenly.
It changed in the night from Sunday to Monday. His behavior showed that he was not himself, that he was possessed.
Kobili T.'s mother to the investigators
His mother sends him to pray at the local mosque, known for the radical sermons of his former imam. Djellaba and prayer rug under his arm, he goes there with his best friend, K., and spends the afternoon.
Kobili T. and his friend dine in a sandwich shop and then hang out in the neighborhood with other friends. They go back to K. around 1:30, smoke a little cannabis and fall asleep watching a movie. Before the judge, Kobili T. remembered that it was The Punisher, the story of a Marvel character who embodies vengeance. He also says he smoked "Ten or fifteen joints" in all that day.
Around 3.30am, Kobili T. wakes up his friend. "He was scary, barefoot, tense, with a funny look", describes K. to the investigators. He leaves the apartment hurriedly, "Pajama bottoms"and fled into the night.
A murder under the eyes of the neighbors
Kobili T. reappears a few meters further, in front of the door of his neighbors, the family D., on the 3rd floor of 26, rue de Vaucouleurs. It sounds insistent. The father finally opens him. Kobili T. between barefoot, his sneakers in his hand and his things under his arm. "Without giving any explanation"he asks to stay in the apartment. The father refuses. Kobili T. insists, and the situation escalates. "At that time, Kobili changed his behavior and became very angry"D remembers the keys. The intruder closes the door. "It's going to be death"he says.
Afraid, the couple D. and their children take refuge in the parental room, block the door with a piece of furniture and call the police. It is 4:25. Kobili T. remains alone to pray in the living room during "Twenty minutes, half an hour", reciting suras from the Koran. He puts on jeans. Then his voice moves away. He spans the balcony to move into the apartment next door. "I do not know why, I did not feel safe at the D."he will say to the judge.
Lucie Attal, better known as Sarah Halimi, is awakened by the noise. Retired 65, former director of a nursery, lives alone since her divorce. Kobili T. knows her well, she lives in the apartment just above his "For more than ten years". "I did not know where I was going to landhe assures the judge. That's when I walked in the apartment. I saw a Torah. "
Sarah Halimi is Jewish. Kobili T. knows this because she has "The dress to go to the synagogue" and his children have "The kippah" when they come to see her. In nightgown and dressing gown, she falls face to face with the intruder. "I told him 'call the police, we'll be assaulted'"says the person. Sarah Halimi will not have time. Kobili T. starts to hit her with the phone. Then with his fists. "I was panicking"he says again.
The suite is described by the neighbors, whose lights turn on one by one in the residence.
I thought of a household scene. The noises reminded me of someone who was hit and objects falling on the floor.
A neighbor, to the investigators
The scene of violence is carried off on the balcony. "It's okay, ma'am, I called the police"says Sarah Halimi, a neighbor. In vain. "The whole lasted between fifteen and twenty minutes, I think, it was very long"Nicolas painfully remembers. Several witnesses report hearing insults and incantations, in Arabic and French, covering the sound of the beatings and cries of the victim. "You will pay", "It's to avenge my brother", "Kind of bitch", "God is great", "May God witness me"Kobili exclaims. He does not remember. He also forgets shouting "She's going to commit suicide, she's going to commit suicide" then "I killed the sheitan".
On the other hand, he remembers "Raised and thrown" over the balcony.
Some confusion surrounds the intervention of the police between the first call received at 4:25 and the death at 5:10. Arrived at the door of the apartment of the family D., the police, who do not know the configuration of the residence, are far from imagining that they will have to deal with two distinct events: the sequestration of family D ., at number 26, then Sarah Halimi's deadly aggression, at number 30.
They think they are facing a scene of domestic violence. Then, on the threshold of the D family's apartment, prayers in Arabic arrive behind the door's thickness. Fearing that they would be pronounced by a jihadist, the first police officers decided, by way of "security"to arm and call reinforcements.
It will take nearly an hour for the helpers to enter the courtyard where Sarah Halimi is found dead, her face unrecognizable, the body dislocated. Even after the defenestration, the teams in the presence do not know exactly what it is. "If the police intervened immediately as they should, Ms. Halimi would be alive today", says Jean-Alexandre Buchinger, the lawyer for the victim's children at a press conference on 18 July. A complaint was filed by a family member against the police for failing to assist a person in danger.
From the balcony, Kobili T. screams that he is going "jump" and throws found objects in the apartment. He ended up being arrested in the apartment of the family D., in which he returned, ironing from the balcony. Rather calm during the interpellation, he shows himself agitated during the custody. According to police reports, he spits and threatens to kill the police, who must gird him to control him. At 1 pm, the psychiatrist's diagnosis falls: "Manifest mental disorders", incompatible with police custody. Kobili T. is interned in a psychiatric hospital in the Paris region.
An unspeakable affair?
TThree and a half months later, on 16 July, French President Emmanuel Macron and Benyamin Netanyahu pose, side by side, in front of an audience of personalities from the Jewish community. A marquee was installed in front of the monument of the Martyrs Square of the Winter Velodrome in Paris. This is the first time an Israeli prime minister has attended the commemoration of the arrest of more than 13,000 Jews in 1942. The atmosphere is warm and solemn.
At the rostrum, the president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (Crif) then evokes the Sarah Halimi affair.
Mr. President of the Republic, it is essential that the antisemitic nature of this murder be recorded, so that the upcoming trial is also that of anti-Semitism that kills today in France.
Francis Kalifat, president of the Crif
Did the president of the Crif expect an immediate response from the head of state? It is in any case done, a few minutes later, when Emmanuel Macron follows suit and calls justice to "Now make all the clarity on the death of Sarah Halimi".
Pronounced on the Place des Martyrs, these words of the President of the Republic sound like a real victory for the representatives of the Jewish community, and as the culmination of a rise in media power of "The Sarah Halimi Affair". Filmed by cameras around the world, relayed, analyzed, dissected, the speech of Emmanuel Macron finally gives the case the resonance that the civil parties claimed.
Because in early April, in the days following the death of the Jewish retiree, the information does not make the headlines in the mainstream press, while the social networks and Jewish community sites largely relay it. The March White March organized in Paris in tribute to Sarah Halimi however draws the attention of the media.
But within three weeks of the first round of the presidential election, the campaign “bwas full, and news items are drowned in the political news, as the site points BuzzFeed, who retraced the history of the media echo of the Halimi affair. Even if François Molins, the public prosecutor of the time, receives from April 5 the authorities of the Jewish community of France, “the Jews find themselves, so to speak, alone with fear, of which they can not doubt, but of which it is not sure that it is proved ", Claude Askolovitch analysis on Slate.fr, from the 7th of April.
For lack of new elements, this media silence lasts until mid-May. And finally irritates the representatives of the Jewish community, which is protesting that justice does not retain, for the moment, the anti-Semitic character of the crime as an aggravating circumstance of the murder. On April 14, an investigation is opened for "sequestration" of the family D. and "homicide voluntary" Sarah Halimi. Vigilant, the central Consistory Israelite of France, which took part civil, warns against everything "Denial of reality".
"You have to name things. This drama is an antisemitic assassination! "say Sarah Halimi's family lawyers on May 22 at a press conference. Several journalistic investigations are then published in the following days by The world, Point, The Express and Marianne.
Two months after the fact, the intellectuals in turn seize the controversy, and the news item becomes a real object of public debate. June 1st, Le Figaro publishes a call from intellectualswho plead for "Let the truth be told about the murder of Sarah Halimi". The tribune is notably signed by Elisabeth Badinter, Marcel Gauchet, Alain Finkielkraut ...
June 9, it's the weekly's turn Point to relay a video the philosopher Michel Onfray who denounces the media coverage of the case.
Sarah Halimi was killed twice.
The civil parties do not release the pressure. A new press conference is organized on 4 July, in the presence of Meyer Habib, a French-Israeli MP from the 8th constituency of the French from abroad. The latter denounces a "'Psychiatrization' of this Islamist barbarian no doubt convenient during the electoral period".
The procedure, it follows its course. On July 10, Kobili T. is heard during a first appearance interrogation. The investigating judge did not wait for the result of the psychiatric examination, entrusted to Dr. Daniel Zagury, to go to the unit for difficult patients in Villejuif, where the suspect was transferred. During this hearing, Kobili T. is under Risperdal and Tercian, two powerful neuroleptics, prescribed especially as antipsychotics. "He was a little slow, his face marked, but his words were consistent", reports to franceinfo his lawyer Thomas Bidnic.
The young man admits to having killed Sarah Halimi knowing she was Jewish but not for that very reason. He can not explain the facts, except that he had been feeling since yesterday "Oppressed by an external force, a demonic force".
It could have happened to anyone.
Kobili T., to the investigators
At the end of this interrogation, Kobili T. is indicted for the same counts as the preliminary investigation: "sequestration" on the family D. and "homicide voluntary" on Sarah Halimi. No aggravating circumstances are held, much to the chagrin of the plaintiffs, who demand an extension of the charges to withhold the premeditation, the sequestration of Sarah Halimi, the acts of torture and barbarity and the anti-Semitic character of the crime.
Asked by franceinfo, the Paris public prosecutor's office stresses that justice does not have the habit of not taking aggravating circumstances when it can do so. "If the anti-Semitic character is required, it will be retained during the course of the investigation. As things stand, the objective elements do not make it possible to demonstrate it "adds the prosecutor, adding that technical expertise, on the laptop and tablet used by Kobili T. in particular, and new hearings are underway.
The investigation has, for example, not yet supported the rumors of anti-Semitic insults that Sarah Halimi was allegedly victim of Kobili T. and his family before the facts. In the file, this element boils down for the moment to the statement of an acquaintance of the victim, which reports itself the words of the son-in-law of Sarah Halimi: "I heard, as a result of what happened, that she and her family had been verbally and physically abused by the person concerned and her sister." A charge denied by Kobili T. and his sister.
It prevents. In a forum published on July 12 on Facebook, the designer Joann Sfar relays this element: “If treating a dirty Jewish lady and then slaughtering and defensifying her is not enough [to describe the crime as anti-Semitic]what must we do? "
The answer to this question belongs to justice, seems to answer him Emmanuel Macron two days later, during the commemoration of the raid Vel 'd'Hiv. Any Elyos intervention in a judicial procedure is generally not appreciated by magistrates. For the civil parties, the interest shown by the Head of State is more than symbolic. With this support, they are organizing a new press conference on 18 July.
When, in spite of the evidence of an accumulation of incontestable facts, the justice refuses to retain the qualification of assassination of anti-Semitic character in the Halimi case, the courageous and spontaneous position of the President of the Republic, during the commemoration of the Rafle du Vel 'd'Hiv, makes perfect sense.
Jean-Alex Buchinger, Children's Lawyer Sarah Halimi
"From the beginning, the first reaction was to say 'it's not an anti-Semitic act, it's an imbalance'"adds Joel Mergui, the president of the Central Jewish Consistory of France. "The abolition of discernment in no way excludes anti-Semitism. We can be anti-Semitic and crazy "observes Kobili T.'s lawyer, Thomas Bidnic.
The psychiatric assessment, expected by the end of August, will undoubtedly shed new light on Kobili T's disorderly personality. The report's conclusions will undoubtedly be particularly observed by the authorities. Just like the rest of the procedure, in this case become even more hot.
* To preserve the anonymity of the witness, the first name has been changed.