Around 150 people gathered last Thursday evening in front of the town hall of Bagneux, in the Paris region, to pay tribute to the memory of Ilan Halimi, a Parisian young Jew assassinated three years ago in atrocious conditions after being kidnapped and tortured in this city.
They observed one minute of silence in homage to the young man. In front of an image of a tree - the signification of Hebrew Ilan-, city officials and inhabitants laid a white rose distributed by the communist town hall. Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old mobile phone salesman, went missing in Paris in January 2006.
After being lured by a young woman from the mobile phone shop where he worked, he was held captive for more than three weeks in Bagneux. Authorities found him naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks from cigarettes near railroad tracks at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, south of Paris, on February 13, 2006.
He died on the way to the hospital, having bled to death from stab wounds to his neck. Halimi’s abductors, a dangerous gang called the "gang of barbarians" and led by Youssouf Fofana, a 25-year-old petty criminal, had tortured him while demanding a ransom from his family and the Jewish community. But police interrogation of gang members showed clearly that the choice of the victim was based on anti-Semitic prejudices. According to statements made by Fofana to investigators, the gang targeted the Jewish community “because they have the money.”
The grisly anti-Semitic crime shocked France and its 600,000-strong Jewish community. Fofana was later extradited from Ivory Coast, his country of origin, where he had fled.The trial of Fofana's gang is likely to take place later this year.The body of Ilan Halimi was reburied in a Jerusalem cemetery in 2007.