Shock and outrage in France after new anti-Semitic gang attack

Paris – March 5, 2008 – French officials voiced outrage after it emerged a gang had locked up and attacked a Jewish youth in the same Paris suburb where Ilan Hamili was tortured to death two years ago.

Six youths from the southern Paris suburb of Bagneux, aged 17 to 25, are accused of locking up a 19-year-old youth in a storage room on February 22, beating and sexually tormenting him.

Aged 17 to 25, the six youths – who knew the victim – had falsely accused him of stealing from them in order to lure him into a trap, judicial sources said.

Once he arrived in the apartment of one of his aggressors, the young man, only identified by his family name Roumi, was handcuffed on a radiator and beaten.

With a pen, the aggressors scrawled “dirty Jew” and “dirty faggot” on the face of their victim. Later they forced him to swallow down cigarette butts and to suck a condom on a stick. The man’s ordeal reportedly lasted nine and a half hours.

He was later hospitalised “in a state of shock”. He lodged a complaint.

“We are shocked and outraged. We condemn such acts in the strongest term. Our city has values of tolerance, respect of differences, fight against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” the Bagneux city hall said in a statement.

The head of the Jewish community of Bagneux, Philippe Ovadia, was to visit the young man’s family on Wednesday. The city is home of some 100 Jewish families.

The six aggressors face charges of group violence motivated by a person’s “real or supposed race, religion or sexual orientation”, acts of torture, blackmail and theft.

The case reminds the kidnapping of 23-year-old Ilan Halimi in 2006. The mobile phone salesman was tortured to death by a violent extorsion gang from Bagneux, an anti-Semitic crime that shocked the country.

Close to 30 people are under investigation over the killing, with the gang’s ringleader, Youssef Fofana, to stand trial for murder before the end of the year.

Communist Mayor of Bagneux, Marie-Hélène Amiable, told France Info radio station that “one should not make a confusion between the two cases.”

© European Jewish Press


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