Shoah survivor’s murder trial begins The Australian …

Posted By on November 27, 2021

TWO men have gone on trial over the 2018 murder of an elderly Jewish woman that provoked protests and alarm in France about antisemitic crime.

The partly-burned body of Mireille Knoll, 85, was found in her apartment in Paris after she had been stabbed 11 times and her home was set on fire.

President Emmanuel Macron attended the funeral of the Holocaust survivor, who escaped a notorious 1942 roundup of more than 13,000 Jews in Paris by fleeing with her mother to Portugal when she was nine years old.

Two men have been charged with her killing a 25-year-old homeless man with psychiatric problems and the 31-year-old son of one of Krolls neighbours.

Both deny killing the frail and immobile grandmother and each blames the other for her death.

Gilles-William Goldnadel, a lawyer acting for Knolls family, told reporters it was a case of antisemitism motivated by financial gain.

Prosecutors are treating the murder as an antisemitic hate crime because one of the men said he had overheard the other talking about Jews money and their wealth and that he shouted Allahu Akbar while stabbing her.

The investigation had also shown one of the suspects, named as Yacine Mihoub, had an ambivalent attitude towards Islamic extremism, prosecutors claim.

Both Mihoub, 31, and his co-accused Alex Carrimbacus, 25, were present in court for the trial which is due to last until November 10.

The murder was the latest in a series of attacks that have horrified Frances 500,000-strong Jewish community and exacerbated concern about how rising Islamic extremism is fuelling antisemitism.

About 30,000 people took part in a silent march in Knolls memory in March 2018 attended by government ministers and the heads of Frances political parties.

One of the organisers, Sabrina Moise, said that while she loves France she felt it was no longer safe for Jews because of galloping antisemitism.

In 2012, Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah shot dead three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Three years later, a gunman killed four people in a hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket in Paris.

And in 2017, a Jewish woman in her sixties, Sarah Halimi, was thrown out of the window of her Paris flat by a neighbour shouting Allahu Akhbar.

Frances highest court ruled in April that her killer, Kobili Traore, was not criminally responsible for the crime after succumbing to a delirious fit under the influence of drugs and could not go on trial.

The ruling infuriated Jewish groups, and prompted Macron to urge a change to the law to ensure people face responsibility for violent crimes while under the influence of drugs.

Speaking about Knoll, Macron had said her killer murdered an innocent and vulnerable woman because she was Jewish and in doing so sullied our most sacred values and our memory.

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