courtroom (illustrative)
courtroom (illustrative)Reuters

A French lawyer in the city of Lyon has requested that a judge be taken off a case because he is of Jewish origin, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported.

Alexis Dubruel asked the court last month to remove Judge Albert Levy from a case in which a girl’s grandmother is seeking visitation rights with her grandchildren, who currently live with their father, Moises.  

Citing Wikipedia entries, Dubruel argued that the problem was that the father’s name is Moise (Moses) after “the founder of the Jewish religion”, while Levy “is, according to the Jewish religion, one of the names of descendants of the Levites, members of the Levi tribe”.

Durbel’s client had claimed that the judge was biased in the defendant’s favor because of their common origins, according to the report.

She based her petition, which has not yet been answered, on Article 668 of the French penal code stating that a judge will be disqualified if “circumstances strong enough exist to suspect the judge’s impartiality.”

The Lyon appeal court threw out the request and fined Dubruel the maximum possible penalty of 750 euros on Tuesday afternoon.

Lyon chief prosecutor Jacques Beaume, who described the request as “ignominious”, declared that he would take disciplinary action against the lawyer. The Lyon bar, to which Dubruel belongs, pledged to do the same, RFI reported.

Last spring Albert Levy was placed under police protection after the banned Islamist group, Forsane Alizza, had planned to kidnap him.

In the 1990s, Levy was subjected to an anti-Semitic hate campaign while he was investigating allegations of links between the far-right Front National and organized crime. He reportedly received numerous death threats.