It has been ten years since the death of Ilan Halimi Hy"d, a handsome and charismatic 23-year-old Jewish man, who was abducted and slowly tortured to death for 24 days by a Parisian Muslim anti-Semitic gang. The horrific murder drove home to whoever needed the proof that the spirit of Nazi sadism is alive and well in Europe.
Halimi, who made a living as a cellphone salesman, was kidnapped in Bagneux on January 21, 2006, by the gang that called itself "The Barbarians," after being lured by a 17-year-old female gang member.
He was held for 24 days in an apartment on the 11th floor of a residential building, bound, with his head covered entirely in duct tape except for a small gap for his mouth.
He was subjected to three weeks of beatings and torture, while gang members attempted to extract a 450,000 Euro ransom from his family. Ilan's uncle, Rafi Halimi, reported that "the gang phoned the family on several occasions and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Koran, while Ilan's tortured screams could be heard in the background."
Halimi was found naked, handcuffed and tied to a tree three weeks after his capture, but died from his wounds on the way to hospital.
Twenty-three people participated in torturing Ilan. Another twenty were involved indirectly. The custodian of the building gave them the key to an apartment where they said they wanted to "keep someone." French journalist Guy Millière reported that the thugs cut bits off his flesh, cut his fingers and ears, and burned him with acid.
The autopsy reportedly revealed an incision of between six and seven inches on Ilan’s left cheek.
On the final day, Youssef Fofana, the leader of the Barbarians, slit Ilan's throat, twice, and poured a flammable liquid on him to try to set him on fire. But this reportedly did not burn him to death, because Ilan walked for perhaps one hour trying still to find a way to live.
Ilan Halimi was initially buried in the Cimetière parisien de Pantin near Paris. The funeral in Paris drew a large Jewish crowd.
A year after Ilan’s death, Ruth Halimi took the remains of her son and transported them to Jerusalem. "I felt it was my duty as a mother to give my son a rest that I judged impossible in France, where Ilan was starved, beaten, wounded, burned. How to rest in peace in a land where he suffered so much? Someone could have spit on his grave."
He was reburied in Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem on February 9, 2007. A garden in the Jerusalem Forest was named after him.
A total of 27 people were accused as being implicated in the crime and were tried for kidnapping and murder in 2009. Gang leader Youssouf Fofana, born in 1980 to immigrants from Côte d'Ivoire, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 22 years. Seventeen others received sentences ranging from three to 18 years, other received shorter sentences and three were acquitted.
Fourteen of the verdicts were appealed by the prosecution. The convictions were upheld on appeal in December 2010.