ADL Welcomes Conviction of Gang Responsible for Kidnap and Murder of French Jew

New York, NY, July 11, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed today’s conviction in France of Youssouf Fofana and 24 other members of the Barbarians gang that kidnapped, tortured and murdered 23-year-old Ilan Halimi.  Fofana, the alleged ringleader, received the maximum sentence of life for the killing.

Halimi was brutally tortured and burned during his three weeks in captivity before he was left naked and for dead in February 2006.  Members of the Barbarians gang demanded a large ransom, believing the family was wealthy because they are Jewish.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We welcome the conviction of Youssouf Fofana and the maximum sentence of life in prison, which is a just verdict and conveys the severity with which such crimes must be judged.  According to courtroom observers, Fofana remained unrepentant throughout the trial about the murder and proud of his anti-Semitic beliefs.

The brutal murder of Illan Halimi is a dark chapter in France’s history, a reminder that classic anti-Semitism is still alive and well in Europe, and can have deadly consequences.  The conviction of the gang members will send a strong message that anti-Semitism is unacceptable in French society, and that there will be serious consequences for those who decide to act out their hatred.

We regret that the trial was closed to the public, since it would have provided a much needed opportunity for a high-profile public discussion about the dangers and sometimes deadly consequences of anti-Semitism.

Read more online on our web site at /PresRele/ASInt_13/5563_13

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.