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Published on 16 December 2020

Crif - Francis Kalifat comments on the 2015 terrorist attacks trial

The trial of the January 2015 attacks has come to an end. Crif President Francis Kalifat attended much of the trial hearings, including those on Hyper Cacher attack. Today, he looks back on the historic trial of terrorism, but also of antisemitism in France.

On Wednesday September 23, you sent a strong message to the Court. What was the subject of your testimony?

Francis Kalifat: The goals of my intervention at the trial was multiple. First of all, I came to speak for Crif, civil party in this case. I also recalled the names of the too many victims of an antisemitism which kills in France. "12 French men, women, children and old people have been murdered since the beginning of the 2000s in our country on the sole ground that they were Jews".

The victims, France and the French Jews need this trial because, beyond attending the trial of accomplices of the terrorists, beyond their possible convictions for the acts committed ... This trial must also be the trial of the antisemitism that kills in our country in the 21st century.

 

Lawyers for the civil parties, victims of the Hyper Cacher hostage-taking, Patrick Klugman and Elie Korchia have delivered their pleadings. Both emphasized the antisemitic motive. Why is it important that it is effectively recognized?

Francis Kalifat: It is very important for us that the aggravating nature of antisemitism is recognized and included, because it was essential to show and recall, as each of the civil party lawyers did, both Patrick Klugman and Elie Korchia, what is the daily life of French Jews, and the consequences of antisemitism that we know.

In this, I salute the excellence and complementarity of the pleadings of the civil parties and in particular for the HyperCacher case, of Elie Korchia and Patrick Klugman.

There is an antisemitism that kills, but also the everyday antisemitism that rages in the neighborhoods. The one who makes life impossible for those Jewish families who live there, wich to cause a real internal exile.

I insist on the need for awareness, thanks to this trial, of the whole society.

 

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The Court has delivered its verdict on Wednesday December 16, 2020, ending the trial of the attacks against Charlie-Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in January 2015. The Court handed down sentences ranging from 4 to 30 years of jail. Crif President Francis Kalifat was present when the verdict was announced. He gives us his comments:

"At the end of the trial, my first thoughts are for the victims. I hope that the end of this trial will appease them and allow them to heal.
 
This trial was long, especially for the victims and for the witnesses.
 
I would also like to congratulate the work of all civil party lawyers, and more particularly the role of Mr. Patrick Klugman, lawyer for Crif - civil party in the trial - and Mr. Elie Korchia. Indeed, both have, through their pleadings, put antisemitism back at the heart of the trial of the terrorist attack on Hyper Cacher.
 
Crif being a civil party, I spoke in front of the Court on Wednesday, September 23. I talked about antisemitism and the too many victims of antisemitism that kills in France.
 
As regards the verdict, as much we can be satisfied with the sentence of Ali Riza Polat sentenced to 30 years of criminal imprisonment, two thirds of which cannot be reduced, we can regret that for more than half of the accused, the sentences were below the requisitions of the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office. Indeed, for six of them, the association of criminals with the aim of a terrorist enterprise was not accepted. They thus received lighter sentences, being only condemned for "criminal association". 
 
Despite everything, this trial demonstrates through these convictions that a terrorist act is not limited to the one who commits it. These penalties make it possible to recognize the responsibility of the chain of complicity in the act and that those who have contributed by the supply of weapons, means of transport or even places of accommodation, bear a particular responsibility because without them the act could not have been committed.
 
As to the aggravating circumstance of antisemitism, it could not be recognized on procedural grounds. Nevertheless, the President of the Court of Assisi recalled that it was indeed the Jews that were targeted, because of their religion: "The kidnapping of the clients of the Hyper Cacher was antisemitic, as was the 'assassination of four of them, which only a procedural reason prevented from accepting the aggravating circumstance of anti-Semitism "

 

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