- Title: FRANCE: Demonstrators seek more jail time over murder of Jewish man
- Date: 14th July 2009
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (JULY 13, 2009) (REUTERS) WIDE VIEW OF SECURITY NEAR DEMONSTRATORS OUTSIDE FRENCH MINISTRY OF JUSTICE DEMONSTRATORS HOLDING PLACARDS / FRENCH FLAG WITH SECURITY IN FOREGROUND DEMONSTRATORS HOLDING WHITE CARNATIONS CLOSEUP OF FLOWERS BEING DISTRIBUTED DEMONSTRATORS CHANTING PLACARDS WITH PICTURE OF MURDER VICTIM ILAN HALIMI / FRENCH FLAG PROTESTER CHANTING MORE OF PROTESTERS (SOUNDBITE) (French) RICHARD PRASQUIER, PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL OF FRENCH JEWISH INSTITUTIONS (CRIF), SAYING: "The feeling of the continued missed opportunity for this family who have asked for only one thing, please give a certain sense of reason - if we could use reason for this murder of their son - and make it evident from this tragedy for everybody in society to listen. That's why I pleaded with a lot of conviction for the trial in appeal to not be behind closed doors." CROWDS GATHERED NEAR PLACE DU CONCORDE MORE OF DEMONSTRATORS WITH WHITE FLOWERS WIDE VIEW OF CROWD (SOUNDBITE) (French) JACQUELINE, DEMONSTRATOR, SAYING: "There were 27. It's 27 people who were equally as guilty as the gang leader. They are all offenders. Their punishment must be exemplary." TILT FROM FRENCH FLAGS TO ENTRANCE OF FRENCH MINISTRY OF JUSTICE WIDE EXTERIOR OF FRENCH MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
- Embargoed: 29th July 2009 16:42
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVAF2IQ99ZMT9GW45CX5Y9OX4MMA
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Hundreds of demonstrators, some carrying white flowers, French flags and portraits of a Jewish murder victim gathered, in front of the Justice Ministry in Paris on Monday night (July 13).
Ilan Halimi, 23, was abducted by a group calling itself "the gang of barbarians" who unsuccessfully tried to extort a ransom, tortured him until he was close to death and then left him near a train station.
He died shortly after he was found.
Youssouf Fofana, leader of the gang, was jailed for life on Friday (July 10) over the 2006 murder -- the maximum penalty under French law, with a minimum period in jail of 22 years.
Fofana, a 28 year-old of Ivorian origin, expressed no remorse, instead showing defiance throughout the trial.
Twenty-four other members received sentences ranging from six months suspended to 18 years in prison. Two were acquitted.
Jewish organisations say they want stiffer punishments to send a strong signal to stem what they say is a rising tide of anti-Semitism in France.
"The feeling of the continued missed opportunity for this family who have asked for only one thing, please give a certain sense of reason - if we could use reason for this murder of their son - and make it evident from this tragedy for everybody in society to listen. That's why I pleaded with a lot of conviction for the trial in appeal to not be behind closed doors," said Richard Prasquier, president of the Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF).
In a rare intervention, French Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie asked the public prosecutor on Monday to appeal for longer jail terms against 14 of the 25 sentenced members of the gang after Jewish groups protested against the original sentences.
Demonstrators shouted "Justice for Ilan" and "Bravo Madame Alliot-Marie" at the peaceful protest.
"It's 27 people who were equally as guilty as the gang leader. They are all offenders. Their punishment must be exemplary," said demonstrator Jacqueline.
The gang included a girl who lured Halimi into the Paris suburb where he was abducted.
Prosecutors had requested a jail term of 10-12 years for the girl, but she was sentenced to nine years as she was a minor at the time of the crime.
A new trial would take place in about a year.
The case has shocked France and turned a spotlight on anti-Semitic violence in the poor, multi-ethnic suburbs around many big French cities.
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