For Immediate Release: July 13, 2009
In light of today’s verdict in the 2006 killing of 23-year-old Ilan Halimi, Paul LeGendre, Director of the Fighting Discrimination Program at Human Rights First, stressed the importance of criminal justice in the fight again such hate crimes:
“Ilan Halimi was kidnapped, tortured and killed because he was a Jew. He was held captive for twenty-four days during which he was stabbed and burned with cigarettes and acid before being found naked and handcuffed to a tree. Today, the perpetrators of this horrific act of antisemitic violence have finally been brought to justice. Although a guilty verdict cannot bring back a life senselessly lost, the criminal justice response of the state has an important role to play in ensuring society’s condemnation of such violent acts of discrimination.” said LeGendre.
The murder of Ilan Halimi is part of a larger pattern of antisemitic violence in France and, indeed, throughout Europe. Human Rights First’s 2008 report on Antisemitic Violence found that antisemitic hate crime is on the rise in many parts of Europe, while most governments are failing to adequately address the problem.