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Family of murdered French Jewish woman files complaint against police

Marche blanche en mémoire de Sarah Halimi, à Paris le 9 avril 2017
Noémie Fitoussi
Lawyer tells i24NEWS police must explain why they didn't enter building while Sarah Halimi was still alive

A lawyer for the family of Sarah Halimi told i24NEWS on Monday that a complaint will be filed against the police for failing to enter the building and preventing the Jewish woman's death in April.

Sarah Halimi was beaten and thrown to her death from the window of her Paris apartment by her 27-year-old neighbor Kobili Traore.

French police arrived on the scene but reportedly refused to enter the building until specialist backup had arrived, during which time a neighbor recorded Halimi's screams as she was attacked by her neighbor.

Witnesses testified that Traore shouted "Allahu akbar" ("God is great") during the attack, while Halimi's daughter said that he had two years ago called her a "dirty Jew."

"I can confirm that I have filed a complaint with the Paris public prosecutor against the police," said lawyer Gilles William Goldnadel, explaining that it is up to the investigation to determine which branch of the force bears responsibility for the failure to save Halimi's life.

"It is totally incomprehensible, in the literal sense of the word, to explain why the police did not intervene for an hour when for at least thirty minutes of that a woman was tortured by her assassin."

The umbrella organization of French Jewish communities on Wednesday accused the government of "covering up" the alleged anti-Semitic murder of a Jewish woman by her Muslim neighbor.

"The murder of Sarah Halimi was 85 days ago already and the investigation is not advancing. Why this silence? Why this omerta?" the group said in a statement on Wednesday, using an Italian mafia term referring to a cover-up among accomplices. "What is being hidden? Why this denial of anti-Semitism?"

The organization's president Francis Kalifat made a similar statement in an opinion piece published by France's Le Figaro newspaper, in which he said "there is evidence that this is a textbook case of an anti-Semitic murder but it is being covered up by an ‘omerta’ and this heinous crime has not been recognized for what it is."

He charged that Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher in her 60's "as butchered for the sole and only reason that she was Jewish" and vowed to continue to pressure authorities "until the truth comes to light about this sordid murder."

The case is being treated by prosecutors as voluntary manslaughter with no aggravating circumstances.

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