French prosecutors have called for two men accused of murdering a Holocaust survivor in her eastern Paris council flat to be tried for killing her on anti-Semitic grounds.
was stabbed 11 times in March 2018 and burned in a frenzied onslaught, which shocked the nation and outraged political leaders. ” data-reactid=”18″>Mireille Knoll, 85, was stabbed 11 times in March 2018 and burned in a frenzied onslaught, which shocked the nation and outraged political leaders.
President Emmanuel Macron, who attended her funeral at the time amid widespread public mourning, said: “She was killed simply because she was Jewish.”
Her neighbour, Yacine Mihoub, 30 is now in custody along with another suspect, 24-year old Alex Carrimbacus with mental health issues.
On Thursday night, Paris prosecutors called for the pair to be tried for “murder of a vulnerable person due to the victim’s real or supposed affiliation to a religion”.
It is now up to the investigating magistrates conducting the investigation to decide whether to retain the motive of anti-Semitism.
Prosecutors pointed out that Yacine Mihoub had scrawled graffiti in praise of the Paris terror attacks in his cell and had conducted internet searches on the liberation of Palestine, Salafist Islam and the Muslim brotherhood.
Carrimbacus is thought to have asked whether the victim was rich.
“This evidence legitimately raises the question over Yacine Mihoub and Alex Carrimbacus’s state of mind and the deep reason for the murder,” the prosecution was cited as arguing in Le Parisien.
The Knoll family’s lawyer Gilles-William Goldnadel, said: “It is a satisfaction to see the prosecution recognise that Mrs Knoll was both an old lady and a Jewish woman and that she was killed for both reasons.”
Alex Carrimbacus told investigators that his friend had said “Jews are loaded”.
His lawyer, Karim Laouafi, said he was “surprised” that both suspects were “on the same level”.
“The prosecution’s hypothesis is that they both struck the victim but one cannot reason using mere hypotheses in such a serious case. My client acknowledges responsibility on certain points but firmly contests the crime,” he said.
Yacine Mihoub’s lawyers, Fabrice de Korodi and Charles Consigny, that the charge of anti-Semitism was based “solely on the changing and implausible declarations of the second suspect”.
His client’s only fault was to have “let Alex Carrimbacus into Mireille Knoll’s flat”, he asserted.
Jewish groups have accused French prosecutors in recent years of glossing over anti-Semitism as a motive, notably over the murder of Sarah Halimi, 65, thrown out of the window of her flat in Paris in 2017 by Kobili Traoré, who lived in the same building.
At first not considered a hate crime, the charge was eventually amended to “murder with anti-Semitism as an aggravating factor”.
However, a court late last year rule her attacker was “not criminally responsible for his actions”.