A colleague and friend once asked me why California still had a death penalty.
"Because if there are not state-controlled executions, people will do their own killings," I said. To me, this seemed perfectly apparent. My friend, a young defense attorney, was horrified. "But that's not justice," he protested.
"No, it's the state's attempt to minimize revenge killings by putting them into a judicial strait-jacket and making the death penalty very limited and very controlled," I told him. I don't have any authority for this. It was simply my impression after years in a prosecutor's office.
Any prisoner on Death Row was referred to as a "dead man walking" by other prisoners.
What does this have to do with Ilan Halimi?
Ilan Halimi was a young French Jewish kid of working class Moroccan-born parents who was lured by a pretty gang member to go out on a 'date,' then was kidnapped and tortured to death over a three week period. During that period, his gangster captors repeatedly called his family to demand a ransom "because Jews are rich, everyone knows that," and tortured him during the calls so his family was in agony.
The family is poor. When they told his captors this, their response was: "Go to the synagogue and have your compatriots come up with the money."
When the family complained to the police, the police shrugged it off. Not until he was found naked and dying in the streets did the police take any action. When he died, the police dismissed the claim that his torture/murder was anti-Semitic. That denial lasted until the first arrest, when one gang member boasted that they had kidnapped and killed Ilan because he was a Jew.
Youssouf Fofana, the gang leader and reputed mastermind of this depravity, was sentenced to "life" in prison.
Fofana is a Moslem. Many of his cohorts are Moslems. They read excerpts from the Quran to Halimi's family during telephone calls in which the family could hear Ilan screaming during torture.
Have you heard one word of regret from the Moslem community anywhere in the world? Aren't Moslems offended that one of their own could butcher a young man who has done nothing, and quote the Quran while doing it?
Fofana was one of 27 people on trial in the kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi, who was only 23 years old. A month after the start of the trial, Fofana admitted to having stabbed and set fire to Halimi, pouring flammable liquid over him and setting it alight. Testimony indicated that acid was thrown on Ilan. Ilan's throat was cut by Fofana just before he was released, but he didn't die immediately. He was able to walk, and died while trying to reach help.
French journalist Guy Millière reported that “the screams must have been loud because the torture was especially atrocious: the thugs cut bits off the flesh of the young man, they cut his fingers and ears, they burned him with acid, and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him on fire.” Reports of Ilan's death stated that over 80% of his body has been "butchered." Ilan died on the way to the hospital.
But no one in the buildings where he was tortured heard anything. So they say. All "good citizens" like those in the Third Reich who never noticed the ethnic cleansing going on all around them. It's not clear from the news reports so far if the custodian who provided the apartment to his captors was convicted of aiding and abetting.
Today, all but two of his murderers were convicted. The longest sentence, a "life sentence" for Fofana, means his killer can be paroled in 22 years. Others received varying sentences but many will get what is called "good time/work time" credit: they will only serve half their sentence if their prison behavior is good and they will also receive credit for their time in custody to date.
His two main accomplices, Samir Ait Abdelmalek and Jean-Christophe Soumbou, were given sentences of 15 and 18 years, respectively. Another man who was a minor at the time also received a 15-year prison term, while Emma, a young girl used to attract Halimi, was sentenced to nine years in prison.
The 22 others were convicted of a variety of crimes, including kidnapping by an organized group, sequestration that resulted in death, or failing to assist a person in danger. Those acting as jailers received 10 to 12 year terms.
22 years or less for a three week exercise in sadism? For torturing a young man targeted solely for being a Jew? For pouring acid on him? For cutting his throat? For cutting flesh from his body? For pouring flammable liquid on him and setting him on fire?
France should be ashamed of herself if she calls this "justice." If Ilan Halimi were my child, Fofana would be a dead man walking. France is too dainty to execute barbarians? Fine, I'll do it myself.
Islam should be ashamed of not excommunicating these barbarians. Where are the fatwas calling for Fofana's death for Insulting Islam? Because torture murder of someone innocent in the name of Islam when it's really just for cold cash is an insult to Islam.
If he were my child, I'd build a guillotine in the streets in front of the court house. Bring back the guillotine. Or give me a hunting license.